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Take-Two Jumps on Spring Debut for ‘Grand Theft Auto V’

Take-Two Jumps After Spring Debut for ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Game
Copies of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.'s "Grand Theft Auto IV" video game sit on display at GameStop in New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. rose after saying the next installment of its blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” video game will be released in spring and boost revenue and earnings growth next year.

The shares gained 3.5 percent to $11.08 at 12:52 p.m. New York time in the first day of trading after Hurricane Sandy forced the markets to shut down this week. Earlier the stock advanced 7.8 percent, the biggest intraday jump since Oct. 2.

“Grand Theft Auto V” will generate “substantial” revenue and earnings growth in fiscal 2014 starting in April, Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick said today in a statement. The title is coming to Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 in the spring, the game publisher said yesterday, without providing a more precise date.

After lowering its guidance for the current fiscal year, the “Grand Theft Auto” announcement suggests the game will not ship until after the company’s fiscal year ends in March, Michael Olson, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis, wrote today in a note.

“The primary wildcard for the remainder of the year is the success or failure of ‘BioShock Infinite,’ which will ship on Feb. 26,” wrote Olson, who has a neutral rating on the shares.

The net loss shrank to $12.5 million, or 15 cents a share, in the second quarter ended Sept. 30, from a loss of $47.4 million, or 57 cents, a year earlier, New York-based Take-Two said. Net revenue more than doubled to $273.1 million from $107 million, propelled by the success of “Borderlands 2” and catalog sales led by “Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Red Dead Redemption.”

Earnings excluding items such as stock-based compensation costs will be no higher than 20 cents a share in fiscal 2013, Take-Two said, down from a previous outlook of $1.75 to $2. Analysts predicted $1.93, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company is cutting its fiscal 2013 guidance “to reflect its revised assumed release schedule,” according to today’s statement.

Take-Two’s stock had dropped 21 percent this year through Oct. 26. Game publishers Electronic Arts Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc. declined 42 percent and 12 percent respectively in that period.

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