Earnings Previews: Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Ford, Snap

Quarterly results reported after the closing bell on Tuesday led to sharp changes in several tech stocks. Alphabet and AMD both smashed estimates, while PayPal and Starbucks either missed or guided below expectations or both.

After markets close Wednesday, four firms will report quarterly results: Meta Platforms, Qualcomm, Spotify and T-Mobile. We also have previewed three companies set to release results before markets open on Thursday: ConocoPhillips, Honeywell and Merck.

Here is a look at four firms scheduled to report results after Thursday’s closing bell.

Activision Blizzard

Unless you have just returned from a trip to Mars, you know that Microsoft is splashing out nearly $70 billion in cash ($95 a share) to acquire game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI). The deal is supposed to give Microsoft a strong toehold in the coming real-life battles over the metaverse.

Bloomberg Wednesday morning cited an unnamed source who claims that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission will conduct an antitrust review of the proposed merger. It is probably fair to say that Activision would have dropped 30% of its value over the past 12 months were it not for the Microsoft deal. As it is, the company’s stock is still down 13%.

There have been no changes in the ratings since the Microsoft deal was announced. What would be the point? Still, it is instructive to look at the ratings to get a feel for what Microsoft hopes to own. Of 27 brokerages covering the firm, fewer than half (12) have Buy or Strong Buy ratings on the stock. The other 15 rate the stock at Hold. At a share price of around $79.10, the upside potential based on Microsoft’s offer of $95 is 20%. At the high price target of $113, the upside potential is 43%. Does someone expect another bid for Activision? Not likely.

Analysts have forecast fourth-quarter revenue of $2.83 billion, up about 50% sequentially but down 7.2% year over year. Adjusted EPS are forecast at $1.32, up 82% sequentially and 8.2% year over year. For full fiscal 2021, consensus estimates call for EPS of $3.76, up 7.6%, on sales of $8.72 billion, up 3.6%.

Activision stock trades at 21.0 times expected 2021 EPS, 21.0 times estimated 2022 earnings of $3.76 and 17.4 times estimated 2023 earnings of $4.53. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.40 to $104.53, and the company pays an annual dividend of $0.47 (yield of 0.59%). Total shareholder return for the past year was negative 15.5%.

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