Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO), the New York-based video game publisher, disappointed investors this week when it reported quarterly sales that fell well short of expectations. The revenue miss was partly attributed to declining sales of Red Dead Redemption, one of its most iconic titles.
Q4 2019 Summary
- Earnings: $0.78 per share
- Revenue: $488.4 million
Despite Revenue Miss, Company Hails 2019 a “Great Fiscal Year”
In the most recent quarter ending March 31, Take-Two reported per-share earnings of $0.78, slightly ahead of forecasts calling for $0.75. Revenues reached $488.4 million, significantly undershooting expectations for $504 million. Net bookings rose 19% annually.
Slower than expected revenue growth may have been attributed to the sharp slowdown in sales of the popular Red Dead Redemption 2 video game. The title sold just a million units between January and March.
The company provided investors with disappointing guidance for the current quarter. In Q2, Take-Two expects to lose an adjusted $0.05 per share on net revenues of $335 million. Wall Street analysts were expecting guidance to show second-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.42 per share on net bookings of $418 million.
Nevertheless, management called 2019 a “great fiscal year” for the company following the launch of red-hot titles like NBA 2K19 and Grand Theft Auto Online. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told Investor’s Business Daily his company is “firing on all cylinders.”
Shares of TTWO declined sharply in after-hours trading Monday as investors dissected the earnings report. The stock has since rebounded sharply and is currently trading at its highest level since February.
Red Dead Redemption Skews Guidance
Take-Two was forced to cut its guidance for fiscal 2020 because of the blowout year for its Red Dead Redemption franchise. Despite selling only a million copies last quarter, the game has sold more than 24 million units since launch.
As a result of the tough year-over-year comparison, Take-Two expects fiscal 2020 earnings to reach an adjusted $3.88 per share on net bookings of $2.55 billion. Analysts were expecting adjusted per-share earnings of $4.92 on net bookings of $2.77 billion.
Despite these revisions, Take-Two could ride a multi-year tailwind following the release of the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6. According to various online sources, the release date will be announced in June at the upcoming E3 2019 event.
Analyst Joseph Heglin believes GTA 6 could give Take-Two up to 80% upside over the next two years. This isn’t a stretch: GTA 5, which was released in 2013, sold more than 90 million copies worldwide.
If you’re looking to invest in the video game industry, it’s wise that you don’t bet against the Grand Theft Auto series. Take-Two may have had a disappointing quarter as far as expectations go, but the future is bright thanks to an exciting pipeline of extremely popular titles.
Disclaimer: Author holds no investment position in Take-Two Interactive at the time of writing.