Analyst: Philip Morris Plus Apple Equals Activision Blizzard

Calling Activision Blizzard a "conceptual blend of Apple and [Marlboro cigarette maker] Philip Morris" -- blending innovation with addiction -- Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey believes that although the company's prospects are strong, it's likely to lo
Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey is enthusiastic about Activision Blizzard's prospects -- calling the company "a conceptual blend of Apple and [Marlboro cigarette maker] Philip Morris, combining an innovative entertainment experience with addictive game play." Hickey feels the game industry overall can "remain relatively resilient during an economic slump," and is optimistic about Activision's holiday product slate, which includes an expansion for World Of Warcraft and a multi-instrument Guitar Hero franchise extension, among other notable titles. "There was no indication [Activision Blizzard was] having issues with their September ending quarter, although their timing ambiguity for guidance figures beyond [calendar year 2008] was curious," he notes. Nonetheless, Hickey expects Activision Blizzard to lower its financial forecasts from its $620 million third-quarter projections, even if it's perhaps more as a precautionary measure. "We expect elevated concerns over a fading consumer, retailer hesitance for building inventory and a significantly reduced stock price, has likely afforded management the option to reduce investor expectations," he says.

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