Electronic Arts' CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Electronic Arts (EA)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

May 07, 2012 5:00 pm ET


Rob Sison -

John S. Riccitiello - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Kenneth A. Barker - Interim Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President

Peter R. Moore - Chief Operating Officer

Frank D. Gibeau - President of The EA Labels


Edward S. Williams - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Neil A. Doshi - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Arvind Bhatia - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division

Colin A. Sebastian - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

A. Justin Post - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Brian Karimzad - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Atul Bagga - Lazard Capital Markets LLC, Research Division

Douglas Creutz - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division



Welcome, and thank you for standing by. [Operator Instructions] Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I will now turn the meeting over to Mr. Rob Sison, Vice President of Investor Relations. You may begin.

Rob Sison

Thank you. Welcome to EA's Fiscal 2012 Fourth Quarter Earnings Call. With me on the call today is John Riccitiello, our CEO; Ken Barker, Interim CFO; Peter Moore, COO; and Frank Gibeau, our President of Labels, who'll be joining us for the Q&A portion of the call.

Please note that our SEC filings and our earnings release are available at ir.ea.com. In addition, we have posted earnings slides to accompany our prepared remarks. Lastly, after the call, we will post our prepared remarks, an audio replay of this call and a transcript.

This presentation and our comments include forward-looking statements regarding the future events and the future financial performance of the company. Actual events and results may differ materially from our expectations. We refer you to our most recent Form 10-Q for a discussion of risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed today. Electronic Arts makes these statements as of May 7, 2012, and disclaims any duty to update them.

Throughout this call, we will discuss both GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. The comparable GAAP measures for certain non-GAAP measures to be discussed are: for Q4, net revenue of $1.368 billion; digital revenue of $419 million; gross margin of 72.7%; operating expenses of $629 million; and resulting EPS of $1.20 per diluted share. For full fiscal year 2012, net revenue of $4.143 billion; digital revenue of $1.159 billion; gross margin of 61.4%; operating expenses of $2.510 billion and resulting EPS of $0.23.

During this call, unless otherwise stated, the financial metrics will be presented on a non-GAAP basis. Our earnings release and the earnings slides provide a reconciliation of our GAAP to non-GAAP measures. These non-GAAP measures are not intended to be considered in isolation from, as a substitute for, or superior to our GAAP results.

We encourage investors to consider all measures before making an investment decision. All comparisons made in the course of this call are against the same period in the prior year unless otherwise stated.

Now I'll turn the call over to John Riccitiello. John?

John S. Riccitiello

Thanks, Rob, and good afternoon. I'd like to start with a short review of our recent history before addressing our FY '12 performance, our FY '13 guidance and turning the call over to Ken Barker. For those on the call, I might suggest you take a look at the slides we've posted on our website. They'll help you track this a little bit better, particularly the last few years review I'm about to do now.

As all of you know, these past few years have been very dynamic for companies competing in the fast-changing game industry. 4 years ago, we set out to turn around our core console game business while transforming EA from a packaged goods company to a truly global digital pure play. Throughout this time, we never lost our ambition to position EA as a global leader in digital in the same way we led the packaged goods market during the PS2 era.

4 years ago, our strategies could be described as essentially defensive, mostly about our turnaround and getting a start in digital. At the time, we had 3 strategies: fewer, better and bigger console games; getting started in digital; managing costs. The numbers show we've done these things very well.

On our last earnings call, we introduced a significant change in our strategies, a shift to offense, one that will complete our transformation into a digital pure play company, one that will move us from being a top 5 global competitor in digital gaming to becoming the global leader.

Today, our 3 strategies are brands, platform, talent. By brands, we mean that we have the strongest brand portfolio in the game industry. We will project that portfolio across all relevant digital business models and channels while continuing to invest to grow the power of our brands. Leading the way for EA are blockbusters like Battlefield, Need for Speed, FIFA, Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, Star Wars, Madden, The Sims, Dragon Age, SimCity, Mass Effect and Medal of Honor. We strongly believe this brand collection is unmatched by any competitor in our industry.

By platform, we mean we are building the underlying technology that enables us to project our brands across all digital channels and business models, seamlessly, direct to consumer, and do so in ways that vastly enhances the consumer experience. Technologies like our Nucleus system with nearly 0.25 billion registered users, ensure we can recognize and serve content to our players no matter where they are, on a social network or a console.

These investments enabled us to launch Origin, our direct-to-consumer service for downloading games and connecting players with other gamers and friends. Origin is now the #2 direct-to-consumer game service with more than 11 million registered users.

And we built EA Play4Free, a proprietary platform that is modeled on the Asian companies like Tencent and Nexon. EA Play4Free now hosts a number of EA brands including Need for Speed and Battlefield and has become one of our fastest-growing businesses. We will be adding more brands to this platform in the coming years.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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