Take-Two raises full-year target but fourth-quarter outlook misses

Reuters

By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software raised its full-year outlook again after smash hits "Grand Theft Auto V" and "NBA 2K14" helped it post a better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter revenue.

But it gave a March quarter forecast that was weaker than expected. Shares in Take-Two were down 2 percent in after-hours trading after closing at $18.90 on the Nasdaq.

"Grand Theft Auto V," an action-adventure game in which players roam an urban landscape modelled on Los Angeles, smashed industry records and was the top-selling game of 2013, according to market research firm NPD.

Shares in the company have gained around "GTA V's" success. The title has sold 32.5 million units since its September release, the company said on Monday.

Take-Two, which also publishes "BioShock Infinite," said non-GAAP net revenue was $767.7 million in the quarter ended December 31, compared with $405 million (248 million pounds) a year ago. That surpassed the $704.4 million average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

As a result of strong third-quarter results, Take-Two now expects non-GAAP revenue in the range of $2.35 billion to 2.38 billion, with net income of $4.15 to $4.25 per share for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Last quarter, the company forecast revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion with net income of $3.50 to $3.75 per share.

For the fourth quarter ending March, the company's expects non-GAAP revenue in the range of $170 million to $200 million and non-GAAP net income of zero to 10 cents per share. That is below Wall Street's forecast for revenue of $219.2 million and earnings of 13 cents per share.

"It's been a sixth quarter in a row where we've beat our outlook," Chief Executive Strauss Zellnick said in an interview. "For the fourth quarter, given we don't have big frontline releases, our outlook is quite strong actually."

For the third quarter, on a non-GAAP basis, net profit was $210.7 million, or $1.70 per share, compared with net income of $78.8 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier. This beat Wall Street's expectations of earnings of $1.37 per share.

The New York-based company said its GAAP net income was $578.4 million, or $4.69 per share, compared with net income of $71.4 million, or 66 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $1.86 billion from $415.8 million a year earlier.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)

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