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EA's Q3 2008 Financials Reveal More Closures, Delays, Layoffs, and New Titles

by Rainier on Feb. 3, 2009 @ 2:58 p.m. PST

EA's Q3 2008 financial results reveal a slight increase in revenue, but higher than expected expenses and losses on investments resulted in a $641 million net loss, compared to 2007's $33 million. In addition to the previously announced The Sims 3 and Dragon Age: Origins delays, EA is also pushing back The Godfather II until fiscal 2010 (April 1 - June 30). EA had already announced it would close nine studios and lay off 10% of its employees, but in light of the actual results it will now close 3 additional locations and dismiss 11% of its staff. In the follow up conference call, EA CEO John Riccitiello revealed that Dead Space is coming to the Wii, while early next year we can expect Bad Company 2 (X360/PS3) and Mass Effect 2 (X360/PC).

GAAP net revenue for the third quarter was $1.65 billion, up $151 million as compared with $1.50 billion for the prior year. During the quarter, EA had a net deferral of $88 million of net revenue related to certain online-enabled packaged goods games and digital content as compared with $231 million in the prior year.

Non-GAAP net revenue was $1.74 billion, as compared with $1.73 billion for the prior year. Sales were driven by FIFA 09, Rock Band 2, Need for Speed Undercover, Rock Band, Left 4 Dead, Dead Space, Madden NFL 09, LITTLEST PET SHOP, NBA Live 09 and Mirror’s Edge.

GAAP net loss for the quarter was $641 million, including certain charges, as compared with a net loss of $33 million for the prior year. Diluted loss per share was $2.00 as compared with diluted loss per share of $0.10 for the prior year. During the quarter, the Company recorded an estimated pre-tax goodwill impairment charge of $368 million related to its wireless business and a $244 million charge for a valuation allowance reserve on certain deferred tax assets. Non-GAAP net income was $179 million as compared with non-GAAP net income of $290 million a year ago. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.56 as compared with non- GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.90 for the prior year.

Trailing-twelve-month operating cash flow was $82 million as compared with $267 million a year ago. The Company ended the quarter with cash and short-term investments of $2.0 billion. “Our holiday quarter came in below our expectations and we have significantly reduced our financial outlook for fiscal 2009, a clear disappointment,” said John Riccitiello, Chief Executive Officer. “We delivered on game quality and innovation in calendar 2008, with 13 titles rated 80 or above -- more than any third-party publisher. We expect to build on this great quality record in the year ahead while delivering more profitability.”

As a part of an overall cost reduction program, the Company is reducing its workforce by approximately 11%, or 1,100 people, closing 12 facilities, narrowing its product portfolio and cutting other variable costs. The Company expects to incur total restructuring charges, including severance and facility closures, of $65 to $75 million, which will be recorded over the next twelve months.

“Given our recent performance and the current economic environment, we are aligning our cost structure with a lower projection of revenue, resulting in approximately $500 million of operating expense reductions in fiscal 2010 as compared with our previous plans,” said Eric Brown, Chief Financial Officer.

Highlights

  • EA was the leading publisher in North America with approximately 20 percent segment share according to NPD. In Europe, EA was number two behind Nintendo with an estimated 16 percent segment share.
  • EA had 13 titles rated 80 or above in calendar 2008 – up from seven a year ago.
  • FIFA 09 was EA’s best selling title with 7.8 million copies and charted at number one across all platforms in Europe in the holiday quarter.
  • Rock Band was the number one title across all platforms in North America for calendar 2008, based on NPD data.
  • Need for Speed Undercover sold 5.2M copies. For fiscal year 2010, the Company will launch three separate versions of Need For Speed (NFS), NFS Shift for the PS3 and Xbox 360, NFS Nitro for the Wii and Nintendo DS and NFS World Online for the PC.
  • Littlest Pet Shop sold 2.8 million copies on the NDS, Wii and PC. In the holiday quarter, it was a top-five title on the Nintendo DS in Europe and North America, based on NPD data.
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMO from EA’s Mythic Entertainment studio, ended the quarter with over 300K paying subscribers in North America and Europe.
  • EA’s digital direct-to-consumer revenue, which includes online and wireless, was $313 million year-to-date, up 27 percent year-over-year.
  • Pogo achieved an all-time high of 1.7M paying subscribers in the quarter.
  • EA Mobile is the world’s leading publisher of games for phones – with revenue of $50 million in the quarter – up 28 percent year-over-year.

The following forward-looking statements, as well as those made above, reflect expectations as of February 3, 2009. Results may be materially different and are affected by many factors, including: development delays on EA’s products; competition in the industry; the health of the economy in the U.S. and abroad and the related impact on discretionary consumer spending; changes in anticipated costs; expected savings and impact on EA’s operations of the Company’s cost reduction plan; consumer demand for console hardware and the ability of the console manufacturers to produce an adequate supply of consoles to meet that demand; changes in foreign exchange rates; the financial impact of potential future acquisitions by EA; the popular appeal of EA’s products; EA’s effective tax rate; and other factors detailed in this release and in EA’s annual and quarterly SEC filings.

The Company updated its fiscal year 2009 guidance and provided initial guidance for fiscal year 2010.

Fiscal Year Expectations – Ending March 31, 2009

  • GAAP net revenue is expected to be between $4.2 and $4.25 billion.
  • Non-GAAP net revenue is expected to be approximately $4.1 billion.
  • GAAP diluted loss per share is expected to be between $3.29 and $3.56.
  • Non-GAAP diluted loss per share is expected to be approximately $0.35.
  • For purposes of calculating fiscal year 2009 GAAP and non-GAAP loss per share, the Company estimates a share count of 321 million shares.
  • Expected non-GAAP net loss excludes the following pre-tax items (other than the difference in the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP tax expenses) from expected GAAP net loss:
    • $(150) to $(100) million for the impact of the change in deferred net revenue (packaged goods and digital content),
    • $368 million of estimated goodwill impairment,
    • $206 million of estimated stock-based compensation,
    • $21 million of certain abandoned acquisition related costs
    • $75 million of amortization of intangible assets,
    • $60 to $70 million of restructuring charges,
    • $67 million of losses on strategic investments,
    • $3 million in acquired-in process technology, and
    • $295 to $320 million in difference between the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP tax expenses.

The Company’s updated fiscal year 2009 revenue guidance is lower than its previously announced guidance primarily as a result of weaker than expected sales, the Company’s decision to release certain titles, including The Sims 3, Godfather 2 and Dragon Age on the PC in fiscal 2010 (rather than in fiscal 2009), and the strengthening of the US dollar.

In fiscal 2009, the Company began using a fixed, long-term projected tax rate of 28 percent internally to evaluate its operating performance, to forecast, plan and analyze future periods, and to assess the performance of its management team. Accordingly, the Company has applied the same 28 percent tax rate to its fiscal 2009 non-GAAP financial results. The Company expects its GAAP tax expense to be approximately $250 to $275 million for fiscal 2009.

Fiscal Year Expectations – Ending March 31, 2010

  • GAAP net revenue is expected to be between $4.2 and $4.35 billion.
  • Non-GAAP net revenue is expected to be approximately $4.3 billion.
  • GAAP diluted earnings (loss) per share are expected to be between a loss per share of $0.05 and earnings per share of $0.40.
  • Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share are expected to be approximately $1.00.
  • For purposes of calculating fiscal year 2010 GAAP and non-GAAP earnings (loss) per share, the Company estimates a share count of 323 million shares.
  • Expected non-GAAP net income excludes the following pre-tax items from expected GAAP net income (other than the difference in the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP tax expenses):
    • $100 to $(50) million for the impact of the change in deferred net revenue (packaged goods and digital content),
    • $185 million of estimated stock-based compensation,
    • $85 million of amortization of intangible assets,
    • $40 to $55 million of restructuring charges, and
    • $(65) to $(85) million in difference between the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP tax expenses.

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