* EPS of 15 cents per share vs. 11 cents Street view
* Revenue driven by “Homefront” sales-company
* First-quarter outlook misses estimates
* Shares fall 7 percent in after hours trading
(Adds forecast, analyst comment, share drop, byline)
By Liana B. Baker
NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - THQ Inc THQI.O, the video game publisher behind titles such as “WWE SmackDown vs Raw,” reported revenue and forecast a first-quarter earnings outlook that missed Wall Street expectations, sending shares down more than 7 percent on Tuesday.
The company forecast earnings in the first quarter in the range of a loss of 50 cents to 60 cents, which is below analysts’ consensus analyst of a loss of 6 cents per share, according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S. This first-quarter outlook disappointed investors and sent shares lower on Tuesday, said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia.
The company said its sales for next year would be in the range of $925 million to $1 billion, which is in-line with analysts’ average estimate of $935 million. It expects earnings per share for 2012 to fall in the range of 25 cents to 40 cents, which falls slightly short of the high end of the high end of analysts’ estimates average estimate of 41 cents per share.
On an adjusted basis for digital revenue, the company’s revenue increased 26 percent to $248 million from $197.6 million a year earlier. This falls slightly shy of the $254.8 million analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
THQ, like many video publishers, defers big chunks of the revenue it generates from digital games and a spokesman said it would generate this additional revenue over the next six months.
The company said sales for its fiscal fourth quarter ended in March were driven by the first person shooter game “Homefront.” THQ said it shipped 2.6 million copies of the military-themed video game.
On an adjusted basis for the deferred revenue from digital games, the company’s posted a profit of 15 cents per share compared to 6 cents per share a year earlier and surpassing analyst’s estimates of 11 cents per share.
THQ shares were trading 7 percent lower at $3.83 in after market trading. Earlier, shares closed at $4.12 in Tuesday’s session.
Reporting by Liana B. Baker, Editing by Robert MacMillan, Phil Berlowitz