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Why Activision Blizzard, Inc. Stock Has Skyrocketed 59.4% So Far in 2017

By Steve Symington – Jul 9, 2017 at 2:02PM

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The video-game juggernaut is having a record year. Here's what investors need to know.

What happened

Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI 0.83%) have climbed 59.4% so far in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, following a pair of impressive quarterly reports from the video-game giant.

So what

Activision Blizzard's first big move came in February, when shares jumped nearly 19% in a single day after the company trounced expectations with its stellar fourth-quarter 2017 results. More specifically, Activision's revenue grew 48.9% year over year to $2.014 billion, and translated to 160% growth in earnings per share to $0.65. Both figures easily outpaced Activision's guidance at the time, which called for revenue of just $1.856 billion and earnings of $0.40 per share. 

Management credited the company's success in part to the launch of Blizzard's Overwatch, which became the fast-ever game to reach 25 million players, as well as early tests of mobile advertising efforts at its King Digital business.

Gamer playing a first-person shooter game


Then in early May, Activision easily beat expectations once again with its first-quarter 2017 results. Quarterly revenue climbed 18.6%, to $1.726 billion, while adjusted earnings rose 41.2%, to $0.72 per share -- and both represented new quarterly records for the company. Here again, Activision pointed to catalysts at Blizzard, where revenue climbed 50% to $441 million with the help of strong showings from both Overwatch and World of Warcraft. The former surpassed 30 million players last quarter and became the company's eighth $1 billion-dollar franchise, and both helped drive a more than 25% increase in Blizzard's revenue from in-game content.

Now what

And Activision won't be hitting the brakes anytime soon. Management spent much of the most recent conference call discussing plans to push forward in-game advertising on a broader basis. That's also not to mention the long-term promise of e-sports -- an industry with massive potential, considering hundreds of millions of people already watch e-sports and play Activision's enviable slate of games.

All things considered, it's clear Activision is having a banner year. With no shortage of opportunities to extend its success, it's no surprise to see shares trading near all-time highs right now.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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