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5:21 a.m. Jan. 22, 2021 - By Emily Bary
Microsoft stock is a buy while Oracle is a sell, says Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs analyst Kash Rangan initiated coverage on a basket of software names late Thursday, assigning buy ratings to shares of Microsoft Corp. , Workday Inc. , Adobe Systems Inc. , ServiceNow Inc. , Salesforce.com Inc. , and Splunk Inc. . He's less upbeat about the prospects for Autodesk Inc. and Oracle Corp. as he assigned sell ratings to both names. Rangan's buy-rated stocks "lean more toward reasonably valued high quality growth franchises," he wrote. Companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, Workday, and Splunk look poised to benefit from a potential shift in software spending priorities toward the second half of the year, he argued. While corporate IT departments have been spending on "defensive" categories like video conferencing and remote applications, they could soon shift to more "offensive" areas like the public cloud, human-capital management, and financial tools, Rangan wrote. As for the sell-rated names, Rangan is worried about "secular pressure" for Oracle's middleware business and the health of Autodesk's customer base, particularly in terms of commercial construction companies after the pandemic ends.
6:57 a.m. Dec. 15, 2020 - By Emily Bary
Zynga stock gains after Wells Fargo upgradeShares of Zynga Inc. are up 2.5% in Tuesday morning trading after Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight. " We think shares of Zynga present a favorable risk/reward in light of a new, more detailed strategic vision of organic growth, which CEO Gibeau recently articulated," he wrote in a note to clients. Fitzgerald is upbeat about Zynga's vertically integrated advertising network, its broader portfolio of franchises that will enable the company to allocate advertising spending toward areas with the greatest returns on investment, and an expansion of the business beyond the mobile platform. "We think ZNGA's investment in supporting new launches (i.e. 'Harry Potter, Puzzles & Spells') is underappreciated by the market, and data on app usage have inflected back upwards in Nov and Dec after a lull in July through September," he wrote. Zynga's stock has declined 9.7% since Nov. 4, when Zynga last reported quarterly earnings. The S&P 500 has added 5.9% in that time.
8:40 a.m. June 18, 2020 - By Emily Bary
Spotify stock surges after landing podcast deals with Kim Kardashian, DCSpotify Technology SA shares [S: SPOT] are up more than 12% in Thursday trading amid optimism for a series of podcast deals. The company announced Tuesday that it was partnering with Warner Bros. and DC to create and distribute exclusive narrative podcasts focused on the DC universe. "In addition to producing narratives based on existing characters and franchises from across Warner Bros. and DC, the two entities will also collaborate with Spotify to create new programming from original intellectual property," Spotify said in a blog post. The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday that the company had also reached a deal with Kim Kardashian West . Spotify is deepening its involvement in podcasts and agreed to purchase sports-content brand The Ringer earlier this year in an attempt to build out its sports vertical. Spotify shares are up 86% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has added 30%.
12:14 p.m. June 12, 2020 - By Wallace Witkowski
AT&T in talks to sell WB games business in possible $4 billion deal: reportAT&T Inc. is in talks to sell off Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in that deal that could value the gaming business at as much as $4 billion, according to a report Friday. that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. , Electronic Arts Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc. are all interested in the gaming division, according to unidentified sources close to the matter. carries such titles as "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite," "Mortal Kombat 11," "Game Of Thrones Conquest," as well as the Lego and Hitman franchises. CNBC said it was unable to obtain comment from the involved parties. AT&T shares closed up 1.1% at $30.50, while Take-Two shares declined 0.7% to $134.00, Electronic Arts shares fell 0.4% to $121.97, and Activision shares rose 0.6% to close at $71.68.
10:36 a.m. June 2, 2020 - By Wallace Witkowski
Zynga acquisition of Peak Games meets with analyst approval Shares retreat from eight-year high following deal’s announcementZynga Inc. shares retreat from their recent eight-year highs Tuesday as analysts digest the social gaming company’s most recent acquisition and see it as a long-term boon.
3:16 a.m. June 1, 2020 - By Ciara Linnane
Zynga to acquire Turkish mobile gaming company Peak for $1.8 billion in cash and stockVideo game maker Zynga Inc. said Monday it has agreed to acquire Turkish mobile gaming company Peak for $1.8 billion in cash and stock. Peak is the owner of Toon Blast and Toy Blast, two franchises that rank in the top 10 and top 20 U.S. iPhone grossing games for more than two years, Zynga said in a statement. "These franchises add significant scale to Zynga's live services and will be an additional driver of margin expansion over the coming years," said the statement. Zynga is paying $900 million in cash and about $900 million in common stock with the deal expected to close in the third quarter. Peak was founded in 2010 and is expected to grow Zynga's average mobile daily average users by more than 60%. Zynga said it now expects its second-quarter loss per share to come to 17 cents, wider than the 6 cents it expected when it last offered guidance in May. Zynga shares rose 4.5% premarket and are up 50% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 6%.
4:29 a.m. May 26, 2020 - By Emily Bary
Take-Two stock gains after BMO upgradeShares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are up 1.2% in premarket trading Tuesday after BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform, writing that the video-game maker could continue to benefit from stay-at-home trends as the industry has proven defensive in times of economic unease. "Take-Two's performance in 4Q illustrates the strength of its core franchises during this time of uncertainty and we are encouraged by the company's strategy to seize opportunities in new platforms, distribution models, and game genres, which should provide more stable, growing earnings and cash flow over time," Johnson wrote. He praised the company for embracing new revenue streams and being "one of the first large publishers" to offer its games on the Nintendo Switch, Alphabet Inc.'s Google Stadia, and Epic Games Store. "It is expanding its sports offering, providing an opportunity for more regular annualized releases," Johnson wrote. "And we see significant opportunities in mobile, where the company is underpenetrated." He raised his price target to $170 from $120 in conjunction with the upgrade. Take-Two shares have added 28% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has shed 5.2%.
2:10 p.m. May 5, 2020 - By Max A. Cherney
Activision Blizzard stock rises after earnings beat, as player engagement rises amid coronavirusActivision Blizzard Inc. shares rose 4.9% in the extended session Tuesday after the videogame giant beat consensus earnings and sales estimates. The company reported first-quarter net income of $505 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with $447 million, or 58 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for items such as stock-based compensation, among other things, earnings were 76 cents a share. Revenue fell to $1.79 billion from $1.83 billion in the year-ago period; Activision reported net bookings rose to $1.52 billion compared with $1.26 billion a year ago. Bookings is a common non-GAAP financial measure used by videogame companies to capture revenue from digital and physical sales. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted earnings of 38 cents a share on net bookings of $1.32 billion. The videogame maker said it saw better-than-expected results for its key franchises as populations sheltering at home turned to its various titles for entertainment and social connection. Activision said it expects full-year earnings of $2.22 a share on sales of $6.8 billion. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said its staff had moved to work from home in mid-March. The company said that while working remotely brings challenges, it has implemented measures to address those areas, and based on what it has accomplished so far "we expect to deliver a robust slate of content over the remainder of the year." Activision stock has gained 45% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index fell 3.5%.
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