EA Accused of Using "Accounting Trick" that "Boosts Bottomline"

First a law firm investigates then an analyst accuses EA of issuing misleading Income Statements

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EA Accused of Using "Accounting Trick" that "Boosts Bottomline"
Electronic Arts is not having a great time of it right now. First up it's being investigated by a US law firm over Battlefield 4 performance issues affecting stockholders. Now an analyst has issued severe warnings on the company.

An investment analyst called David Trainer has really gone to town on the company via the finance website SeekingAlpha. He's used the following terms: "Income Statement Is Misleading", "Competitive Advantage Is Gone", "Bad Reputation", and "Accounting Trick Boosts Bottomline" before advising investors to "avoid the following ETFs (Exchange Traded Fund) and mutual funds due to their 3+% allocation to EA and Dangerous-or-worse rating".

Writing on SeekingAlpha, Trainer says in terms of the 'accounting Trick' that:

The company recorded $64 million in pre-tax income due to a change in the fair value of contingent considerations. This earnings boost comes from the decline in the probability of acquired companies meeting their performance targets. Not a bad trick to get an earnings boost from underperformance. After removing the contingent consideration income and other unusual items, we reveal that EA's NOPAT actually declined by 33%. Investors need to look beyond reported earnings to find the true profitability.

In terms of 'Bad Reputation' trainer claims that, "EA has a major issue with its perception among consumers. For the past two years, readers ofThe Consumerist voted EA as the worst company in America by a landslide over Bank of America (BAC). Gamers have long expressed their distaste for EA's track record of glitchy games. In the mobile gaming segment, the company has acquired a reputation for trying to squeeze every last penny out of gamers through micro transactions. EA's efforts to fix Battlefield 4 likely stem from its desire to combat its poor reputation."

Ouch all round on this one. All the opinions are obviously Trainer's. We await EA's response.


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