‘Potter’ aid casts spell on EA profits

Co. posts 22% increase in net revs over same qtr. last year

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” worked its magic for No. 1 vidgame publisher Electronic Arts last quarter as the hit game adaptation helped drive strong earnings.

Company reported a 22% increase in net revenue over the same quarter a year ago to $432 million thanks in part to “Harry Potter,” one of the quarter’s top-selling titles. Profit in the three months ended June 30, the first quarter on EA’s fiscal calendar, grew 32% to $24 million.

EA has a number of film-related titles set for release in the next few months, including “Catwoman” and new games based on the “Lord of the Rings” and James Bond properties.

Publisher increased the lower bounds on its guidance for the fiscal year ending next March while maintaining its maximums. It’s now predicting revenue between $3.3 billion and $3.4 billion, while diluted earnings per share are expected to be between $2.00 and $2.10. In the current quarter, it’s expecting diluted earnings per share of 28¢-34¢ on net revenue of $680 million-$715 million.

EA shares closed down slightly at $52.65 Thursday before earnings were released.

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