EA Climbs as Apex Legends Lauded as Its ‘Hottest Game in Years’

(Bloomberg) -- Electronic Arts Inc. rose to the highest in nearly four months as some Wall Street analysts weighed in favorably on the the potential success of the company’s latest game, Apex Legends.

Free-to-play Apex Legends could be a competitor to the wildly popular game Fortnite, Bank of America Merrill Lynch suggested in a note, upgrading shares to buy. And Jefferies said Fortnite’s viewership on the video game streaming site Twitch was "basically chopped in half" in the days following the Apex release.

Shares experienced a delayed reaction since the February 4 launch, which came with little fanfare. The stock caught fire a few days later, when the video-game maker announced the release attracted 10 million users. The turnaround is notable for the stock, which suffered about five months of losses since last summer through December.

EA Climbs as Apex Legends Lauded as Its ‘Hottest Game in Years’
  • Electronic Arts now has a title "to capitalize on the most important new genre in gaming," BofAML analyst Justin Post wrote
    • He cautioned that "any call on Apex at this early stage is highly speculative" however, "if Apex is a hit, we think opportunity is worth the stock volatility and risk"
    • Expects "new data points (or any lack of data points) to drive big swings in the stock as investors evaluate the Apex potential"
    • Boosted price target to $110 from $95
  • Jefferies analyst Timothy O’Shea wrote that Apex Legends is the company’s "hottest game in years" and first week data is strong
    • Apex Legends has the hallmarks of a breakout game for video game streaming site Twitch, namely a free-to-play business model and competitive multiplayer gameplay
    • Fortnite’s viewership on Twitch "basically chopped in half" in days following the Apex release
    • Raised price target to $90 from $80
  • Buckingham analyst Matthew Harrigan said that "gamers strongly welcomed an appealing alternative to Fortnite and we are confident that the game is a significant success"
    • However, it’s premature to assume that Apex Legends achieves the same economics as Fortnite
    • Boosts price target to $103 from $90, downgraded to neutral from buy
  • Electronic Arts has 22 buys, 12 holds, 0 sells; avg PT $95: Bloomberg data

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