Grand Theft Auto V revs up Take-Two's results


By Malathi Nayak

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Take-Two InteractiveSoftware raised its fiscal 2014 results forecast onTuesday after reporting that second-quarter revenue quadrupled,driven by record-breaking sales of the video game "Grand TheftAuto V."

Shares in Take Two jumped after it reported the results,which beat Wall Street forecasts. The stock has gained 5 percentsince its signature title went on sale in September.

"Grand Theft Auto V," a free-wheeling game in which playersroam an urban landscape modeled on Los Angeles, notched $1billion in sales over its first three days, smashing records andbecoming the industry's fastest-selling title.

Take-Two raised its forecast for earnings and revenue in thefiscal year ending March 31. It now expects revenue of $2.2billion to $2.3 billion, with earnings-per-share of $3.50 to$3.75 per share for the fiscal year. The previous forecast was$1.76 billion to $1.9 billion in revenue, with earnings pershare of $2.25 to $2.50.

Shares in Take-Two were up 1.6 percent at $18.25 afterhours, from a close of $17.95 on the Nasdaq.

"The company is firing on all cylinders but thethousand-pound gorilla this year for this company is Grand TheftAuto V," CEO Strauss Zellnick said in an interview. "Our goal isto have the 'James Bonds' of the interactive gaming industry."

Take-Two, which also publishes "BioShock Infinite," saidnon-GAAP revenue was $1.27 billion in the quarter ended Sept 30,compared to $288 million a year ago. That beat the $954 millionaverage estimate of analysts polled by Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted for the deferral of digitalrevenue and other items, income was $325.6 million, or $2.49 pershare, compared with a net income of $10.2 million, or 11 centsper share, a year earlier. That beat the Street's view of $1.71per share, according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

Take Two's bigger rival, Electronic Arts Inc,reported higher quarterly profit due to cost controls and strongdigital sales. Revenues fell from a year earlier.

Electronic Arts, known for its "Battlefield" and "FIFA"games, raised its fiscal year 2014 forecast for non-GAAPearnings per share, adjusted for the deferral of digital revenueand other items, from $1.20 to $1.25 per share.

"Continued gross margin improvement... and second, controlof our costs," enabled the company to increase its earningsforecast, EA's CFO Blake Jorgensen said in an interview.

EA's shares were relatively unchanged in after-hours tradingafter closing at $24.13 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

For the second quarter, ended Sept 30, EA's non-GAAP revenuedipped to $1.04 billion from $1.08 billion a year ago. Non-GAAPnet income rose to $105 million, or 33 cents per share, from $49million, or 15 cents per share, a year ago.

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