Take-Two Sales, Profit Top Estimates on Basketball Title

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., publisher of the “Grand Theft Auto” video games, rose the most in almost five years after third-quarter results beat analysts’ estimates on sales of its latest basketball title.

Take-Two jumped 14 percent to $14.44 at the close in New York, the biggest rise since Feb. 25, 2008, after the company reported adjusted sales increased 71 percent to $405 million. Analysts had projected $363.8 million on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Excluding some items, profit of 67 cents a share beat the 55-cent average estimate of 17 analysts, New York-based Take-Two said in a statement yesterday.

Take-Two, which on Jan. 31 delayed the next version of its best-selling “Grand Theft Auto,” cited sales of the shooter game “Borderlands 2” and of “NBA 2K13,” which benefited after Electronic Arts Inc. canceled a rival basketball title. The publisher has shipped more than 15 million copies of “NBA 2K” in three releases. The latest version received its highest overall rating ever, according to the statement.

“Our focus on quality really matters over time,” Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick said in an interview. “If you give people what they want, they will come out for it.”

Revenue from digitally delivered content more than tripled from a year earlier and accounted for 23 percent of net revenue, driven by “Grand Theft Auto,” “Borderlands” and “NBA 2K13.” The first “Grand Theft Auto” game in five years will start selling on Sept. 17.

Net Income

Third-quarter net income rose to $71.4 million, or 66 cents a share, compared with $14.1 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier, the company said. Net revenue rose 76 percent to $415.8 million.

For the fiscal year ending March 31, Take-Two forecasts profit of 5 cents to 20 cents a share, excluding some items, compared to the 14-cent average of 15 analysts. Its forecast for sales of $1.15 billion to $1.20 billion compared with the average estimate of 1.18 billion.

The company said yesterday it authorized a plan to repurchase up to 7.5 million shares.

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