3 Min Read
* Shares up 6 percent
* Raises 2013 forecast
* GTA V will impact 2013 profit -analyst
By Malathi Nayak
SAN FRANCISCO, May 22 (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software raised its revenue forecast for fiscal 2013 with investors expecting the latest installment of its blockbuster "Grand Theft Auto" franchise, sending its shares up 6 percent.
Take Two executives would not be drawn on the release schedule for the highly anticipated, fifth installment of the action-adventure game. But National Alliance Capital Markets analyst Mike Hickey said the raised guidance implies "Grand Theft Auto:V" would be out this year.
The video game publisher announced a 19 percent dive in the fiscal fourth-quarter on Tuesday, beating lowered expectations, taking into account a delayed release for its other hit franchise, the action-shooter "Max Payne 3."
"At this point it's all about 'Grand Theft Auto:V' and the potential earnings power that this game has." Hickey said. "And we think that the Street is under-appreciating the how much profitability it could drive for the overall company."
The company expects net revenue between $1.75 billion and $1.85 billion for the fiscal year ending 2013, in line with Wall Street's average target for $1.8 billion.
It forecast net income of $2 to $2.25 earnings per share.
Take-Two Interactive Software posted a 19 percent drop in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter after the video game publisher moved the release of major title "Max Payne 3" to later this fiscal year.
"Max Payne 3," published by Take-Two's Rockstar Games label, was previously expected to launch in March. But the game was released in May and added to the company's lineup for its fiscal year ending on March 31, 2013.
The company has sold 3 million units of the game since it was released for Xbox 360 and Play Station 3 last week. A personal-computer version will be out on June 1.
"We had a good deal of product slippage over the course of the year, so the year was financially disappointing," Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said in an interview.
The company expected a "strong performance" in 2013 due to its upcoming releases and an aggressive development pipeline, Strauss added.
The company said net revenue fell to $148.1 million in the quarter ended March 31, from $182.3 million a year earlier.
That beat the $139.9 million average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company reported a net loss of $66.84 million, or 79 cents per share, compared to a loss of $22.05 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier.
Adjusted for the deferral of digital revenue and other items, the company said its loss was $50.94 million, or 60 cents per share, compared to a loss of $14.42 million, or 18 cents per share, a year ago.
Take-Two's shares rose to $11.85 in after-hours trading on Tuesday, after closing at $11.16 on the Nasdaq.