Take-Two Rises Most in Over 4 Years as Shooter Games Drive Gains

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., maker of the Grand Theft Auto video game, rose the most in more than four years after fiscal fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates on the strength of its shoot ’em up titles.

Take-Two jumped 15 percent to $27.72 at 10:10 a.m. in New York after trading as high as $27.93, to mark the biggest intraday advance since September 2010. The stock was down 14 percent this year through Monday.

Take-Two benefited from sales of the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto, as well as Evolve, a shooter game released Feb. 10. Fans who ordered that $60 product digitally using their Xbox One got to start further along in the game than those who bought a traditional disc.

Profit excluding some items rose to 49 cents a share in the period ended March 31 from 21 cents a year earlier, the New York-based company said Monday in a statement. That compared with the 28-cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We have a lot of hits and more digital revenue,” Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick said in an interview. The video game industry is making the transition to digital purchases in a far more seamless way than music and movies, he said. “Whether its disc or digital, we want to be where the consumer is.”

A larger share of the company’s revenue is coming from digital downloads. Sales from digitally-delivered content climbed 66 percent to $202.5 million, the company said. More than half of that was from in-game purchases, such as virtual currency and add-on content.

Sales Forecast

The company forecast sales of $325 million to $350 million and earnings per share of 25 cents to 35 cents for its fiscal first quarter that ends in June.

Adjusted revenue in the fourth quarter rose 83 percent to $427.7 million, trailing the $462.3 million average of analysts’ predictions.

In Evolve, four hunters face off against a player-controlled monster on the mythical planet of Shear. The planet’s plants and animals are also adversaries. Take-Two said it had sold 2.5 million copies to retailers, according to the statement.

“For the industry it’s a massive hit, for us it’s a good start,” Zelnick said.

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