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Electronic Arts Rises as BMO Capital Likes Industry Trends

Electronic Arts gets upgrade and price target boost from BMO Capital analysts.
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Electronics Arts  (EA)  climbed on Tuesday after a BMO Capital analyst upgraded the videogame maker to outperform from market perform and raised his price target to $168 from $150. 

Shares of the Redwood City, Calif., company at last check were up 1.8% to $143.94.

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Analyst Gerrick Johnson said in a research note that the videogame industry is trending better than many investors had expected coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that lockdowns overseas should boost user engagement in those markets.

The analyst said he was encouraged to see weakness in mobile gaming addressed with acquisitions.

In March the company said it was buying Glu Mobile  (GLUU)  for $12.50 a share cash, or $2.4 billion, a deal to boost its mobile-games business.

Johnson also said that EA's "Apex Legends" has been performing significantly better than he expected and that the shares are the least expensive in his coverage group.

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Released in 2019, "Apex Legends" is a free-to-play battle royale-hero game developed by Respawn Entertainment. 

"'Apex Legends' shows no signs of slowing down," Johnson said. "In fact, the game keeps growing."

Within the first month of its release, "Apex Legends" took in $92 million of revenue across all platforms, the highest amount earned by any free-to-play game during its month of launch, Forbes reported.

Separately, Berenberg raised its price target for Electronic Arts to $170 from $160.

Vice reported last month that Electronic Arts suffered a massive data breach that could have resulted in the loss of source codes for some of its key products.

Take-Two Interactive Software  (TTWO)  said in January that it would not beat Electronic Arts' $1.2 billion bid for U.K. racing game publisher Codemasters Group.

Johnson said EA's acquisition represented "significant opportunities for the company, particularly in mobile where the company has trailed over the last five years."

Last week, Codemasters Chief Executive Frank Sagnier and Chief Financial Officer Rashid Varachia both said they were leaving the company.