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Dolby Soars After Being Picked to Provide Windows 8 Audio

Dolby Soars as Microsoft Picks Company for Windows 8 Audio
Dolby Laboratories Inc. signage sits on display during the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Dolby Laboratories Inc. advanced the most in more than five years after Microsoft Corp. chose the sound company to provide audio for Windows 8 for tablets and computers when the software’s latest version debuts this year.

Dolby gained 18 percent to $44.22 at the close in New York for the biggest jump since November 2006, after the San Francisco-based company reported the agreement and quarterly profit that topped analysts’ estimates yesterday.

The deal will enable Dolby, which makes more than 80 percent of annual revenue from licensing technology, to boost proceeds from royalties. Makers of products based on Windows 8 will be generally required to license Dolby technologies included in the software, Dolby said.

“The profile of the PC segment is materially improved by the Win8 deal and the company is intensifying its focus on new initiatives,” including mobile and other devices that deliver Internet content, Michael Olson, a Piper Jaffray Cos. analyst who rates the shares the equivalent of hold, said in a note.

Dolby has been shifting its business as consumers shed DVDs and PCs in favor of media on mobile phones and tablets. The Microsoft agreement to incorporate Dolby Digital Plus won’t add to fiscal 2012 earnings, since the product isn’t expected to ship until the 2013 period, Dolby said.

The company narrowed its full-year sales forecast to as much as $960 million for the year ending Sept. 30. It previously predicted revenue of as much as $970 million.

“Dolby Digital Plus on Windows 8 will enable more people to enjoy cinematic sound anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” Ramzi Haidamus, executive vice president, sales and marketing, said in a statement yesterday.

Dolby reported earnings excluding certain items of 91 cents a share for the second quarter, ended March 30. That topped the average estimate of 81 cents a share from predictions compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 4 percent to $260.3 million. Analysts had predicted $253.1 million.

The shares have risen 45 percent this year.

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