Activision Blizzard Announces Record Second-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced record second-quarter 2020 results.

“Our mission to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment has never been more meaningful,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Our 400 million players continue to experience fun, joy and accomplishment through our games. Our record engagement resulted in greater revenue and earnings per share than previously forecast. While economic uncertainty could have an impact on our near-term results, the initiatives that drove our growth for the first half of the year should also provide the foundation for long-term growth.”

Financial Metrics

 

Q2

(in millions, except EPS)

2020

Prior Outlook*

2019

GAAP Net Revenues

$1,932

$1,690

$1,396

Impact of GAAP deferralsA

$146

($15)

($189)

 

 

 

 

GAAP EPS

$0.75

$0.54

$0.43

Non-GAAP EPS

$0.81

$0.64

$0.53

Impact of GAAP deferralsA

$0.16

$0.01

($0.15)

 

 

 

* Prior outlook was provided by the company on May 5, 2020 in its earnings release.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $1.93 billion, as compared with $1.40 billion for the second quarter of 2019. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $1.59 billion, as compared with $1.09 billion for the second quarter of 2019. GAAP operating margin was 39%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.75, as compared with $0.43 for the second quarter of 2019.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, on a non-GAAP basis, Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 42% and earnings per diluted share were $0.81, as compared with $0.53 for the second quarter of 2019.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, operating cash flow was $768 million. For the trailing twelve-month period, operating cash flow was $2.14 billion.

Please refer to the tables at the back of this press release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.

Operating Metrics

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, Activision Blizzard’s net bookingsB were $2.08 billion, as compared with $1.21 billion for the second quarter of 2019. Net bookingsB from digital channels were $1.82 billion, as compared with $1.01 billion for the second quarter of 2019. In-game net bookingsC were $1.37 billion, as compared with $778 million for the second quarter of 2019.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, overall Activision Blizzard Monthly Active Users (MAUs)D were 428 million.

Selected Business Highlights

Activision Blizzard exceeded its second quarter outlook. Strong execution against our three strategic growth drivers of expanding audience reach, engagement and player investment enabled us to serve fantastic experiences to an enlarged gaming audience, against a backdrop of demand tailwinds from shelter-at-home. Each of our key franchises delivered better-than-expected results, with growth led by the Call of Duty® franchise following the launch of WarzoneTM. The increased investment and successful initiatives that fueled the strong second quarter results position us to continue delighting our global communities, and to deliver sustained greater financial performance.

Activision

  • Activision had 125 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • Call of Duty: Warzone has reached over 75 million players to date. In the first full quarter since Warzone launched, hours played in the Modern Warfare® universe increased eight-fold year-over-year, driven by both existing and new players.
  • Modern Warfare added more players outside of a launch quarter to the premium Call of Duty experience than ever before, with the majority coming through upgrades from Warzone. On PC, life-to-date consumption for Modern Warfare is more than double that of the prior title.
  • Call of Duty in-game net bookingsC more than doubled quarter-over-quarter and were around five times higher than the year-ago quarter, reaching a new quarterly record.
  • Call of Duty Mobile saw strong sequential growth in engagement and player investment, benefiting from both shelter-in-place tailwinds and the team’s ongoing work to further optimize gameplay, monthly seasonal content and the in-game economy. The game climbed the top-grossing charts in US app stores1, with each of the three seasons in Q2 generating more net bookingsB per day than the prior.

Blizzard

  • Blizzard had 32 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • World of Warcraft® reach and engagement once again increased sequentially, as shelter-at-home conditions further boosted the franchise’s strong trajectory. The Shadowlands expansion saw an enthusiastic response from players in its public testing, with pre-sales accelerating even further ahead of its release in the fourth quarter. Franchise engagement is the highest in a decade at this point ahead of an expansion.
  • Hearthstone®’s Ashes of OutlandTM expansion launched alongside a new hero class, as the expanded team continued to accelerate the pace of innovative content in the franchise.
  • Overwatch® engagement grew year-over-year, including among returning players.

King

  • King had 271 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • King delivered strong increases in reach and engagement amidst shelter-at-home conditions at the start of the quarter. While these tailwinds moderated in the second half of the quarter, MAUsD remained higher year-over-year, driven by the Candy CrushTM franchise.
  • Candy Crush franchise MAUsD grew by a double-digit percentage year-over-year. Payer conversion grew year-over-year and Candy Crush was once again the top-grossing franchise in the U.S. mobile app stores.1
  • King announced it will be bringing Activision’s beloved CrashTM franchise to the mobile platform with Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!TM, an ambitious new take on the runner category with deep social and resource management elements.
  • Advertising net bookingsB grew strongly year-over-year, accelerating through the quarter even against the backdrop of ongoing headwinds in the digital advertising sector.

Company Outlook

Our business continues to experience strong momentum, even as tailwinds from shelter-in-place moderate in certain parts of the world. In the second half of the year, we expect to launch major new content into key franchises with meaningfully larger audiences than we have seen previously, creating the opportunity for strong financial performance. The full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations, and financial results will depend on numerous evolving factors that we are not able to fully predict at this time, and we remain mindful of risks and uncertainties related to global economic weakness, rising unemployment, pressures on the retail channel, pricing and other potential factors. We continue to believe we are being prudent in our guidance to account for these risks, and see the potential for overperformance if these risks do not materialize. Overall, even with this backdrop, we are raising our outlook for net revenues, net bookings and EPS for the year, more than passing through the Q2 outperformance.

(in millions, except EPS)

GAAP

Outlook

Non-GAAP

Outlook

Impact of GAAP

deferralsA

CY 2020

 

 

 

Net Revenues

$7,275

$7,275

$350

EPS

$2.46

$2.87

$0.18

Fully Diluted Shares

780

780

 

 

 

 

 

Q3 2020

 

 

 

Net Revenues

$1,800

$1,800

($150)

EPS

$0.64

$0.75

($0.15)

Fully Diluted Shares

780

780

 

Net bookingsB are expected to be $7.625 billion for 2020 and $1.650 billion for the third quarter of 2020.

Capital Allocation

The company paid a cash dividend of $0.41 per common share, up 11% year-over-year, on May 6, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 15, 2020. Cash payments totaled $316 million.

Conference Call

Today at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Activision Blizzard’s management will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the company’s results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 and management’s outlook for the remainder of the calendar year. The company welcomes all members of the financial and media communities and other interested parties to visit https://investor.activision.com to listen to the conference call via live Webcast or to listen to the call live by dialing into 866-777-2509 in the U.S. We encourage participants to pre-register for the conference call using the following link http://dpregister.com/10145881. A replay of the call will also be available after the call’s conclusion and archived for one year at https://investor.activision.com/events.cfm.

About Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard, Inc. connects and engages the world through epic entertainment. A member of the Fortune 500 and S&P 500, Activision Blizzard is a leading interactive entertainment company. We delight hundreds of millions of monthly active users around the world through franchises including Activision’s Call of Duty®, and Crash Bandicoot™, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft®, Overwatch®, Hearthstone®, Diablo®, and StarCraft®, and King’s Candy Crush™, Bubble Witch™, and Farm Heroes™. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard has operations throughout the world. More information about Activision Blizzard and its products can be found on the company’s website, www.activisionblizzard.com.

1 Based on App Annie Intelligence.

A Net effect of accounting treatment from revenue deferrals on certain of our online-enabled products. Since certain of our games are hosted online or include significant online functionality that represents a separate performance obligation, we defer the transaction price allocable to the online functionality from the sale of these games and then recognize the attributable revenues over the relevant estimated service periods, which are generally less than a year. The related cost of revenues is deferred and recognized as an expense as the related revenues are recognized. Impact from changes in deferrals refers to the net effect from revenue deferrals accounting treatment for the purposes of revenues, along with, for the purposes of EPS, the related cost of revenues deferrals treatment and the related tax impacts. Internally, management excludes the impact of this change in deferred revenues and related cost of revenues when evaluating the company’s operating performance, when planning, forecasting and analyzing future periods, and when assessing the performance of its management team. Management believes this is appropriate because doing so enables an analysis of performance based on the timing of actual transactions with our customers. In addition, management believes excluding the change in deferred revenues and the related cost of revenues provides a much more timely indication of trends in our operating results.

B Net bookings is an operating metric that is defined as the net amount of products and services sold digitally or sold-in physically in the period, and includes license fees, merchandise, and publisher incentives, among others, and is equal to net revenues excluding the impact from deferrals.

C In-game net bookings primarily includes the net amount of downloadable content and microtransactions sold during the period, and is equal to in-game net revenues excluding the impact from deferrals.

D Monthly Active User (“MAU”) Definition: We monitor MAUs as a key measure of the overall size of our user base. MAUs are the number of individuals who accessed a particular game in a given month. We calculate average MAUs in a period by adding the total number of MAUs in each of the months in a given period and dividing that total by the number of months in the period. An individual who accesses two of our games would be counted as two users. In addition, due to technical limitations, for Activision and King, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would be counted as two users. For Blizzard, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would generally be counted as a single user. In certain instances, we rely on third parties to publish our games. In these instances, MAU data is based on information provided to us by those third parties, or, if final data is not available, reasonable estimates of MAUs for these third-party published games.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures: As a supplement to our financial measures presented in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), Activision Blizzard presents certain non-GAAP measures of financial performance. These non-GAAP financial measures are not intended to be considered in isolation from, as a substitute for, or as more important than, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. In addition, these non-GAAP measures have limitations in that they do not reflect all of the items associated with the company’s results of operations as determined in accordance with GAAP.

Activision Blizzard provides net income (loss), earnings (loss) per share, and operating margin data and guidance both including (in accordance with GAAP) and excluding (non-GAAP) certain items. When relevant, the company also provides constant FX information to provide a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations. In addition, Activision Blizzard provides EBITDA (defined as GAAP net income (loss) before interest (income) expense, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and adjusted EBITDA (defined as non-GAAP operating margin (see non-GAAP financial measure below) before depreciation). The non-GAAP financial measures exclude the following items, as applicable in any given reporting period and our outlook:

  • expenses related to share-based compensation;
  • the amortization of intangibles from purchase price accounting;
  • fees and other expenses related to acquisitions, including related debt financings, and refinancing of long-term debt, including penalties and the write off of unamortized discount and deferred financing costs;
  • restructuring and related charges;
  • other non-cash charges from reclassification of certain cumulative translation adjustments into earnings as required by GAAP;
  • the income tax adjustments associated with any of the above items (tax impact on non-GAAP pre-tax income is calculated under the same accounting principles applied to the GAAP pre-tax income under ASC 740, which employs an annual effective tax rate method to the results); and
  • significant discrete tax-related items, including amounts related to changes in tax laws (including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017), amounts related to the potential or final resolution of tax positions, and other unusual or unique tax-related items and activities.

In the future, Activision Blizzard may also consider whether other items should also be excluded in calculating the non-GAAP financial measures used by the company. Management believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with additional useful information to measure Activision Blizzard’s financial and operating performance. In particular, the measures facilitate comparison of operating performance between periods and help investors to better understand the operating results of Activision Blizzard by excluding certain items that may not be indicative of the company’s core business, operating results, or future outlook. Additionally, we consider quantitative and qualitative factors in assessing whether to adjust for the impact of items that may be significant or that could affect an understanding of our ongoing financial and business performance or trends. Internally, management uses these non-GAAP financial measures, along with others, in assessing the company’s operating results, and measuring compliance with the requirements of the company’s debt financing agreements, as well as in planning and forecasting.

Activision Blizzard’s non-GAAP financial measures are not based on a comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles, and the terms non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP earnings per share, non-GAAP operating margin, and non-GAAP or adjusted EBITDA do not have a standardized meaning. Therefore, other companies may use the same or similarly named measures, but exclude different items, which may not provide investors a comparable view of Activision Blizzard’s performance in relation to other companies.

Management compensates for the limitations resulting from the exclusion of these items by considering the impact of the items separately and by considering Activision Blizzard’s GAAP, as well as non-GAAP, results and outlook, and by presenting the most comparable GAAP measures directly ahead of non-GAAP measures, and by providing a reconciliation that indicates and describes the adjustments made.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: The statements contained herein that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements about: (1) projections of revenues, expenses, income or loss, earnings or loss per share, cash flow, or other financial items; (2) statements of our plans and objectives, including those related to releases of products or services and restructuring activities; (3) statements of future financial or operating performance, including the impact of tax items thereon; and (4) statements of assumptions underlying such statements. Activision Blizzard, Inc. generally uses words such as “outlook,” “forecast,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “to be,” “plan,” “aims,” “believes,” “may,” “might,” “expects,” “intends,” “seeks,” “anticipates,” “estimate,” “future,” “positioned,” “potential,” “project,” “remain,” “scheduled,” “set to,” “subject to,” “upcoming,” and other similar words and expressions to help identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to business and economic risks, reflect management’s current expectations, estimates, and projections about our business, and are inherently uncertain and difficult to predict.

We caution that a number of important factors, many of which are beyond our control, could cause our actual future results and other future circumstances to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: the ongoing global impact of a novel strain of coronavirus which emerged in December 2019 (“COVID-19”) (including, without limitation, the potential for significant short- and long-term global unemployment and economic weakness and a resulting impact on global discretionary spending; potential strain on the retailers and distributors who sell our physical product to customers; effects on our ability to release our content in a timely manner; the impact of large-scale intervention by the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world, including the impact on interest rates; and volatility in foreign exchange rates); our ability to consistently deliver popular, high-quality titles in a timely manner, which has been made more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; concentration of revenue among a small number of franchises; our ability to satisfy the expectations of consumers with respect to our brands, games, services, and/or business practices; our ability to attract, retain and motivate skilled personnel; rapid changes in technology and industry standards; competition, including from other forms of entertainment; increasing importance of revenues derived from digital distribution channels; risks associated with the retail sales business model; the continued growth in the scope and complexity of our business, including the diversion of management time and attention to issues relating to the operations of our newly acquired or started businesses and the potential impact of our expansion into new businesses on our existing businesses; substantial influence of third-party platform providers over our products and costs; risks associated with transitions to next-generation consoles; success and availability of video game consoles manufactured by third parties; risks associated with the free-to-play business model, including dependence on a relatively small number of consumers for a significant portion of revenues and profits from any given game; our ability to realize the expected financial and operational benefits of, and effectively implement and manage, our previously-announced restructuring actions; our ability to quickly adjust our cost structure in response to sudden changes in demand; risks and costs associated with legal proceedings; intellectual property claims; changes in tax rates or exposure to additional tax liabilities, as well as the outcome of current or future tax disputes; our ability to sell products at assumed pricing levels; reliance on external developers for development of some of our software products; the amount of our debt and the limitations imposed by the covenants in the agreements governing our debt; the seasonality in the sale of our products; counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors, and manufacturers, which have been magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with our use of open source software; piracy and unauthorized copying of our products; insolvency or business failure of any of our partners, which has been magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks and uncertainties of conducting business outside the United States; increasing regulation of our business, products, and distribution in key territories; compliance with continually evolving laws and regulations concerning data privacy; reliance on servers and networks to operate our games and our proprietary online gaming service; potential data breaches and other cybersecurity risks; and the other factors identified in “Risk Factors” included in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q ended June 30, 2020.

The forward-looking statements contained herein are based on information available to Activision Blizzard, Inc. as of the date of this filing and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Although these forward-looking statements are believed to be true when made, they may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of our future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(Unaudited)

(Amounts in millions, except per share data)

 

Three Months Ended

June 30,

 

Six Months Ended

June 30,

 

2020

 

2019

 

2020

 

2019

Net revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product sales

$

533

 

 

$

359

 

 

$

1,076

 

 

$

1,015

 

Subscription, licensing, and other revenues1

1,399

 

 

1,037

 

 

2,643

 

 

2,205

 

Total net revenues

1,932

 

 

1,396

 

 

3,719

 

 

3,220

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs and expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of revenues—product sales:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product costs

137

 

 

99

 

 

255

 

 

251

 

Software royalties, amortization, and intellectual property licenses

33

 

 

51

 

 

115

 

 

162

 

Cost of revenues—subscription, licensing, and other:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game operations and distribution costs

271

 

 

230

 

 

529

 

 

469

 

Software royalties, amortization, and intellectual property licenses

28

 

 

53

 

 

74

 

 

114

 

Product development

291

 

 

244

 

 

528

 

 

492

 

Sales and marketing

242

 

 

191

 

 

485

 

 

397

 

General and administrative

175

 

 

170

 

 

343

 

 

350

 

Restructuring and related costs

6

 

 

22

 

 

29

 

 

79

 

Total costs and expenses

1,183

 

 

1,060

 

 

2,358

 

 

2,314

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating income

749

 

 

336

 

 

1,361

 

 

906

 

Interest and other expense (income), net

22

 

 

(34

)

 

30

 

 

(31

)

Income before income tax expense

727

 

 

370

 

 

1,331

 

 

937

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income tax expense

147

 

 

42

 

 

247

 

 

163

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

$

580

 

 

$

328

 

 

$

1,084

 

 

$

774

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per common share

$

0.75

 

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

1.41

 

 

$

1.01

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding

771

 

 

766

 

 

770

 

 

765

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted earnings per common share

$

0.75

 

 

$

0.43

 

 

$

1.40

 

 

$

1.01

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding assuming dilution

776

 

 

770

 

 

775

 

 

770

 

Contacts

Activision Blizzard, Inc.

Investors and Analysts:

ir@activisionblizzard.com
or

Press:

pr@activisionblizzard.com

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