This is a coming-of-age drama about a rising adolescent grappling with the stark realities of adulthood. Naturally, I'm talking about gaming giant Activision Blizzard
First, there were the smashing profits that have to leave the guys at Electronic Arts
Instead, I'm here to talk about Activision's overcoming of the quarter-life crisis. Highly successful tech companies reach a point where they end up with too much cash on their hands. In Activision's case, that's about $2.7 billion, or close to a quarter of the company's market cap. That's a great "problem" to have, of course, assuming that you deploy the cash well. Many tech companies don't, frankly. If they're not wasting it by chasing growth via marginal projects or splashy acquisitions, they're letting it sit idle in their coffers, earning nominal rates of interest. I'm looking at you, Apple
Mature tech stars such as Microsoft
In another nice touch, Activision went the annual route with its dividend payment, rather than quarterly. Activision's product-launch-centric profits are pretty lumpy, which doesn't align well with a quarterly payout policy. And there's always room to ease into a quarterly payout down the road. Dividends are something you don't want to overcommit on, since a company's shares usually get drubbed any time it backtracks on its payout policy.
Don't mistake this new policy as Activision waving a white flag, though. Far from it. The company is still awash in cash, with gusting tailwinds at its back. In fact, the guys over at Stock Advisor think highly enough of Activision's prospects to rate it one of their Core Stocks. If you're curious to learn more about the team's thesis, you can now try Stock Advisor free for 30 days.
Senior analyst Joe Magyer does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can now follow Joe's snarky musings on Twitter. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Apple, Activision Blizzard, and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy doesn't play games.