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Activision Blizzard reported fourth-quarter net income of 403 million, or 52 cents per share, down from $564 million, or 72 cents per share in the year earlier period, and revenue of $2.3 billion, up from $2.2 billion in the year-earlier period.
The company saw its costs increase, after the gaming company agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $35 million to settle the charges about how the company handled and processed employee complaints about the workplace and alleged violations of whistleblower protection rules. Activision Blizzard also saw a $27 million expense related to winding down of its partnership with NetEase Inc., a major Chinese video game publisher. Both were reflected in its fourth-quarter balance sheet.
Net bookings came in at $3.57 billion, up from $2.49 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. Monthly active users rose to 389 million, up from 368 million in the prior quarter.
“We ended 2022 with record quarterly net bookings as we delivered on our mission to bring epic joy to players. I’m grateful to our talented and hardworking teams for their many successes entertaining our hundreds of millions of players around the world. We look forward to a historic year, as we work toward merging with Microsoft. This merger will enable us to better serve our players, create greater opportunities for our employees, and allow us to succeed in an increasingly competitive global gaming industry,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is scheduled to be completed by the end of its fiscal year, ended June 30, 2023, and Activision Blizzard said the “two parties are continuing to engage with regulators reviewing the transaction.” Regulators have not yet approved the merger.
Under the agreement, announced in January 2022, Microsoft will pay $95 a share, or $68.7 billion, to acquire the gaming company.
During the fourth-quarter, Activision saw its Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II game deliver the highest opening-quarter sell through in the history of the gaming franchise. Blizzard also reported its highest quarter net bookings to date, thanks to growth in its Warcraft game and in Overwatch and Diablo. Fourth-quarter net bookings on mobile grew “mid-teens” year-over-year, despite a challenging environment for mobile.
“Our robust product pipeline, live game opportunity, and ongoing focus on operational discipline create a foundation for strong financial performance in 2023,” the company said. “While we remain cognizant of risks, including those related to our execution, economic conditions, the labor market, and exchange rates, we expect at least high-teens year-over-year growth for GAAP revenue, and at least high-single digit year-over-year growth in net bookings and total segment operating income for 2023.”
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