EA posts profit as sales rise 16%

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Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest video game publisher, on Thursday posted a quarterly profit that fell from a year earlier as it booked charges related to stock option expenses and other items.

The maker of popular sports games such as "Madden NFL 07," and "FIFA 07 Soccer" said its fiscal second-quarter net income was $22 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with net income of $51 million, or 16 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter ended Sept. 30. Revenue rose 16% to $784 million from $675 million.

U.S. game makers have been grappling with a revenue-dampening transition to new game console technology, although market research firm NPD Group has seen an unexpected rise in domestic game sales in recent months. Last week, EA's closest U.S. rival, Activision Inc., pre-announced higher-than-expected revenue for the September quarter.

Shares of EA, which are down 12% from a year ago to about $53, trade at a price-to-projected fiscal 2008 earnings ratio of 40. Activision, which earns roughly half the annual sales, has a comparable multiple of about 30.
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