Electronic Arts: Battlefield!

10/19/2018 5:00 am EST

Focus: CONSUMER

Glenn Rogers

Contributing Editor, Internet Wealth Builder and The Income Investor

Who knew eSports would be such a huge business? What used to be a small group of video gamers who met in their parents' basements has morphed into a big-time spectator and competitor driven business, with broadcasting and prize money that are beginning to rival mainstream sporting events, asserts Glenn Rogers, contributing editor to Internet Wealth Builder.

Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune into eSports and that number is growing quickly. Goldman Sachs values the current eSports business at $500 million and is projecting a 22% annual growth rate annually over the next three years. A recent tournament had a purse of $20 million.

Electronic Arts (EA) is one of the bigger publishers of video games, and our latest recommendation. This company is well known to gamers for such products as FIFA (which of course focuses on soccer), Madden (a series of NFL-based games), and Battlefield.

Battlefield is popular with competitive gamers and EA will release a new version of this popular game on Nov. 20, just in time for the Christmas buying season. That's a month later than originally announced; the delay has caused the stock to sell off, which means you can buy while the price is down.

EA has been nimble in expanding their franchises beyond home console games to PC and mobile platforms. Despite the crowed and competitive space they remain one of the leaders and should be able to maintain that position for the foreseeable future.

The company had revenues of $4.8 billion last year and enjoys a 19.16% profit margin, which leads its peer group. Earnings growth has been nearly 70% over the past five years, although revenue has been relativity flat during the same period.

The stock has underperformed its peers this past year and is down 7.9% over the last 52 weeks. I expect that gap to close over the next few months if the market holds up which, admittedly, is a big if. The stock does not pay a dividend so this is a pure capital gains play.

The company will release second-quarter earnings for the 2019 fiscal year on Oct. 30 so cautious investors may want to wait to see how those look before diving in. I plan to take a small position now and add more if the results are strong and the forward guidance is good. Buy with a target of $125.

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