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Activision Rolls Past Estimates

SAN FRANCISCO - Video-games publisher Activision (ATVI) blew past analysts' fourth-quarter earnings estimates on strong sales of the company's Guitar Hero 3 and Call of Duty IV games.

Net income for the quarter was $44.2 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with a loss of $14.4 million, or 5 cents a share, in last year's quarter.

Excluding charges, the company earned 17 cents a share, ahead of analyst expectations of 12 cents.

Revenue for the quarter rose 92.8% to $602.5 million from $312.5 million a year ago. Analysts were expecting $373.1 million.

Shares of Activision climbed 2.9% in recent after-hours trading to $28.50.

For its first quarter fiscal 2009, Activision said it expects revenue of $500 million and earnings of 4 cents a share, excluding results from merger partner Vivendi Games. Excluding items, it expects to report earnings of 13 cents a share.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $484.3 million on earnings of 12 cents a share in the quarter.

In December, Activision said it would merge with Vivendi Games to create a new company called Activision Blizzard. The company said it is on track to close the deal in the next few weeks.

For fiscal year 2009, on a stand-alone basis, Activision expects net revenue of $2.75 billion and earnings of 72 cents a share. Excluding the impact of deferred revenue for online-enabled games, the company expects revenue of $3.1 billion for the year.

That compares to Street estimates of $2.8 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.18 a share.

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