Activision price target upped to $93 from $80 at Benchmark

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EA stock rises after analysts cheer organizational changes

Shares of Electronic Arts Inc. are up 1.9% in premarket trading Friday after analysts praised the organizational changes announced by the company after market close on Thursday. CFO Blake Jorgensen will now also serve as COO, Matt Bilbey will become the executive vice president of strategic growth, and Laura Miele will become chief studios officer. All three have been EA employees for some time and are being promoted to new roles. “With the reshuffled roles, we remain confident in EA’s ability to execute on its various strategic initiatives, including its connected player network, PC subscription offering, expanded partnership opportunities in Asia, and designing games for the future,” William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart wrote. He rates the stock at outperform. BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson said in a note to clients that the changes could help EA better address operational issues: “Management cited quicker response times and an increased focus on providing its player base with the entertainment it wants. We think this could be a reference to consumer pushback to the initial ‘pay-to-win’ mechanic in Star Wars Battlefront II in-game monetization.” EA shares are up 36% over the past 12 months, while Activision Blizzard Inc. shares have gained 39% and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. shares have risen 70%. The S&P 500 is up 14% over the past year.

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