Take-Two’s holiday-quarter sales view tops estimates, shares rise

By Aishwarya Venugopal

(Reuters) – Take-Two Interactive Software Inc gave a stronger-than-expected revenue forecast for the holiday quarter, unlike rivals Activision Blizzard Inc and Electronic Arts Inc, on strong demand for its new NBA videogame and the continued success of “Grand Theft Auto”.

Shares of Take-Two rose more than 8 percent in extended trading on Tuesday, after the company also raised its full-year adjusted revenue forecast and reported second-quarter revenue that topped market estimates.

The company forecast current-quarter revenue of $610 million to $660 million, well above analysts average estimate of $546 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts had forecast revenue that fell short of market estimates for the all-important holiday quarter.

In just a month since its release in September, Take-Two’s “NBA 2K18”, the latest version of its basketball simulation game, has already become the best-selling sports game this year, according to research firm NPD.

The iconic “Grand Theft Auto V” has also been a consistent revenue generator for Take-Two since its launch in 2013. The company said it has now sold more than 85 million “GTA” units, making it one of the best selling games ever.

The online version of “GTA” also did well in the latest quarter and “NBA 2K18”, Take-Two’s debut game on the Nintendo Switch console, was also well received, Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said on an analyst call.

“So far, we’re very pleased with the title’s performance on its new platform and we anticipate continued strong demand across all platforms heading into the holiday season,” Zelnick said of “NBA 2K18”.

Take-Two reported adjusted revenue of $577 million for the second quarter, beating analysts’ estimate of $511.3 million. Its digitally-delivered net revenue increased 31 percent to about $303 million.

However, the company swung to a net loss of $2.7 million from a year-ago profit of $36.4 million, in part due to reorganization expenses.

Take-Two increased its adjusted revenue forecast to $1.93 billion to $2.03 billion for its fiscal 2018 ending March 31, from a forecast of $1.65 billion to $1.75 billion.

The company said it expects record net bookings for fiscal 2019, boosted by its Western action-adventure “Red Dead Redemption 2” and a highly anticipated but yet unnamed game from its 2K studio.

Take-Two in May pushed the launch of “Red Dead” to spring 2018 from fall 2017, a move that had dented its full-year 2018 forecast at the time.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)