Posted on Thursday, Feb 3rd 2022
Earlier last week, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced its second-quarter results that continued to outpace market expectations. Microsoft recently announced its biggest acquisition yet as it changes gears to address the global gaming market.
Microsoft’s Q2 revenues grew 20% to $51.7 billion, significantly ahead of the market’s forecast of $50.88 billion. Net income was $2.48 per share, which was also ahead of the Street’s forecast of $2.31 per share.
Revenues from the Intelligent Cloud segment that includes Azure grew 25.5% to $18.33 billion versus analyst estimate of 18.3 billion. Revenue from Productivity & Business Solutions, which includes cloud software assets such as LinkedIn, grew 19% to $15.94 billion, again ahead of the analyst predictions of $15.86 billion. Revenues from More Personal Computing that includes Windows, Xbox and Surface grew 15.5% to $17.47 billion, ahead of the Street’s forecast of $16.56 billion.
It was a stellar quarter for Microsoft with Azure leading its performance. Azure sales grew 46% over the year, ahead of the previous quarter’s 45% growth, though marginally short of the 48% growth reported a year ago. Its Commercial Cloud business grew 32%, down from 34% reported a year ago. Commercial Office 365 grew 19% with Dynamics 365 growing at 44%. Overall commercial bookings accelerated to 37% with 14% a quarter ago, and Microsoft claimed that it was seeing an increase in the number of larger, longer-term Azure contracts.
Microsoft also mentioned that its security solutions business crossed the $15 billion trailing-twelve-month revenue mark with over 715,000 customers using its advanced security solutions. Microsoft now has over 1 billion active monthly users of its identity solutions and more than 15,000 customers of the Sentinel SIEM solution.
For the third quarter, Microsoft forecast revenues of $48.5-$49.3 billion, compared with the market’s forecast of revenues of $47.69 billion.
Microsoft’s $68.7B Activision Acquisition
The biggest news in the recent quarter was Microsoft’s announcement of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for an estimated $68.7 billion. The acquisition, if approved, will set multiple records. It will be the biggest ever all-cash deal, will be Microsoft’s biggest-ever acquisition, and will be the biggest acquisition in the gaming industry.
Founded in 1979, Activision is known for its titles including Candy Crush, Guitar Hero, Skylanders, Destiny, Crash Bandicoot, and the widely known Call of Duty franchise. But the recent past has been tumultuous. Last summer, the company was dogged by claims of sexual misconduct and discrimination. It also ended up delaying a few game launches scheduled for last year, thus impacting its stock value.
Microsoft’s announcement to acquire Activision will help make Microsoft the third biggest gaming company in the world. Analysts believe that besides helping accelerate Microsoft’s growth in its gaming business across mobile, PC, console, and cloud, the deal will provide building blocks for the metaverse. The two companies will allow players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, such as “Halo” and “Warcraft” anywhere they want. The acquisition will also bolster Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass. With Activision Blizzard’s 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and $3 billion franchises, it will make Game Pass a compelling gaming portfolio. The acquisition will take 18 months to complete after it is approved by regulatory authorities.
According to a
recent report, the global gaming market generated revenue of $180.3 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow to $218.8 billion by 2024. Microsoft clearly wants a bigger share of this high-growth market. In 2020, it accounted for 6.5% of the gaming market share, and this acquisition is expected to take it up to 10.7%.
It also announced a partnership with FedEx, to combine FedEx network intelligence with capabilities from Microsoft Dynamics 365 to create a cross-platform “
logistics as a service” for retailers, merchants, and brands. The companies are using tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning to extend new insights from the packages that pass through the FedEx network each day to help brands deliver improved customer experiences. Together they will help deliver high-value experiences to customers including faster, more cost-effective delivery; near real-time delivery status communications; and convenient, frictionless returns with approximately 60,000 drop-off locations, and printerless QR codes.
Its stock is trading at $309.49 with a market capitalization of $2.32 trillion. It had climbed to a high of $349.67 in November last year. It has climbed from the low of $224.26 that it was trading at in March last year.
Microsoft’s Gaming business has no synergy with its Cloud business. At this point, it is a fair question for Satya Nadella to ponder, whether the company should break these two businesses up.
Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations, and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research of product-market fit, channel execution, and other factors. My primary interest is in product strategy. While this may have bearing on stock movements, my writings tend to focus on long-term implications. The information presented is illustrative and educational, but should not be regarded as a complete analysis nor recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. I am not a registered investment adviser and I am not receiving compensation for this article. Photo Credit: efes from Pixabay This segment is a part in the series : Cloud Stocks . Smartsheet Acquiring Bootstrapped Startups to Drive Growth . Bootstrapped Unicorn Atlassian is Acquiring Capital Efficient Startups . Netflix Price Hike Ruffles Competition . How Will Carbon Black Differentiate? . 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