Electronic Arts Pops on Upbeat Full-Year Guidance

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Electronic Arts ( EA) shares were popping more than 8% to $19.94 in after-hours trading, extending gains from the regular trading session, after the company predicted full-year earnings above current analyst estimates.

The second largest game maker by revenue forecast fiscal 2014 earnings of $1.20 a share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.10, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. The company expects full-year revenue of $4 billion, in line with expectations.

"As we enter a new fiscal year, EA is well-positioned for dynamic growth on next generation consoles, PCs, and mobile platforms," said Executive Chairman Larry Probst in a statement. "With world-class games, a rapidly growing digital business, and top-notch creative talent, we are excited about EA's strategy for FY 2014 and beyond."

Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said that the company has a "solid operating plan with disciplined R&D spending and a sharp focus on delivering the best games and services."

"We are holding our FY 2014 operating expenses flat to the prior year - a significant achievement in a console transition year," he said.

For the first quarter, the company expects loss per share of 62 cents on revenue of $450 million, versus Wall Street estimates of loss of 32 cents a share on revenue of $619.74 million.

Electronic Arts advanced during Tuesday's trading session after it and media giant Walt Disney ( DIS) announced Monday that they entered a multi-year deal to develop new "Star Wars" video games.

For the fourth quarter, Electronic Arts booked earnings of 55 cents a share on revenue of $1.04 billion, compared with the average analyst earnings expectation of 57 cents a share on sales of $1.03 billion, as R&D expenses rose to $287 million from $274 million a year ago. The company said it was the very top publisher on Western retail markets in the March quarter, and the no. 1 global publisher in the iOS game market for fiscal 2013. EA said that its FIFA 13 digital net revenue topped $200 million in 2013, a 94% increase from FIFA 12 in the prior year.

The company's games and services for mobile and handheld digital revenue generated $104 million in the quarter, a 21% in digital net revenue from a year ago.

Rival publishing heavyweight Activision Blizzard ( ATVI), whose franchises included "Call of Duty" and "Skylanders," reports after the markets close Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters estimate that the company's first quarter earnings about doubled from last year. Shares were up 0.21% to $14.97 in after-hours trading.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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