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$EA Hits the Bid on CEO John Riccitiello

“John Riccitiello was ousted as chief executive officer of video-game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), a casualty of shrinking sales as the industry gears up for new consoles no one is sure shoppers want.

Chairman Larry Probst, 63, who ran Electronic Arts until 2007, becomes executive chairman and will lead management as the board seeks a new CEO, according to a statement yesterday. The Redwood City, California-based company, the second-largest U.S. game publisher, rose as much as 7.9 percent after saying Riccitiello, 53, will leave at the end of this month.

“He lasted a pretty long time given that the company hasn’t really performed that well,” said Edward Woo, an analyst at Ascendiant Capital Markets in IrvineCalifornia. “The fact that their stock is up on the news goes to show investors weren’t that big a fan.”

Sales have fallen in three of the past four quarters Bloomberg data show, and the company said yesterday that fourth- quarter results will miss its previous forecast, which had already beenlowered in January….”

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