Activision Blizzard Inc. reported Wednesday a fourth quarter loss due to charges, but its adjusted earnings exceeded Wall Street's expectations, boosted by sales of the newest "Guitar Hero" and "Call of Duty" video games.

After the market closed, the Santa Monica video game publisher reported a net loss of $72 million (5 cents per share) on revenue of $1.6 billion. This was the first full quarter of combined results since Activision's merger with Vivendi Games last July and year-ago net income is not directly comparable.

However, adjusted net income, which removes charges related to the merger, was $429 million (31 cents) beating Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters who expected adjusted net income of 29 cents per share. Adjusted revenue, excluding changes in deferred revenue and businesses Activision is exiting, was $2.3 billion, also exceeding analysts, which were $2.15 billion.

"We successfully achieved our merger restructuring goals, including the elimination of unprofitable product lines, right sizing our organization and integrating disparate accounting and IT systems, all with minimal disruption to our business," said Chief Executive Robert Kotick in a statement.

Activision also released its earnings forecast for the year, pegging 2009 net income at 61 cents a share on revenue of $4.7 billion. That fell short of analyst expectations of 67 cents profit on $5.17 billion revenue. The company said its revenue forecast includes a negative impact of a stronger dollar and a reduction from lower margin distribution and publishing businesses it is phasing out.

Activision shares which closed down 14 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $9.48 on the Nasdaq, fell 4.5 percent in after-hours trading.

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