Electronic Arts posts $30 mil profit in Q4

Shares fall as investors had hoped for stronger performance

SAN FRANCISCO -- Electronic Arts Inc.'s results topped analysts' estimates, helped by sales of hit video game "Battlefield: Bad Company 2," but its shares fell as investors were looking for an even stronger performance from the company.

The video game publisher -- whose inability to meet its financial targets had been frustrating investors for several quarters -- on Tuesday affirmed its outlook for the current quarter and fiscal year.

Chief financial officer Eric Brown said EA had a good quarter, but little has changed in the past three months that would cause the company to change its guidance.

"We're taking share in what is a down market, which is good news, but in terms of the overall outlook, we remain cautious," he said in an interview with Reuters.

EA stocks fell 3.7% in extended trading, following a 3% rise during the regular session.

EA said it swung to a net profit of $30 million, or 9 cents a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ending March 31 vs. a year-ago net loss of $42 million, or 13 cents a share.

Excluding items, EA earned 7 cents a share, ahead of the consensus analyst estimate for earnings of 5 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia called the report decent, but said investors were clearly expecting more. He said the so-called "whisper number" on Wall Street was 8 cents or 9 cents a share.

"I thought they would have some more upside in the quarter. You've seen some upgrades in recent days and expectations had come up," he said.

Revenue rose 14% to $979 million. Non-GAAP revenue came in at $850 million, better than Wall Street's target of $836.5 million.

In addition to "Battlefield: Bad Company 2," sales were also driven by the titles "Mass Effect 2" and "Dante's Inferno."

For the current quarter ending June 30, EA maintained its forecast for a loss, excluding items, of 35 cents to 40 cents a share on non-GAAP revenue of $460 million to $500 million.

For fiscal 2011, the company still expects earnings, excluding items, of 50 cents to 70 cents a share on revenue of $3.65 billion to $3.9 billion.

Shares of Redwood City, California-based EA closed at $18.80 on Nasdaq and fell to $18.10 in extended trading.
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