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Take-Two Interactive Earnings Preview: Analysts Expect Grand Theft Auto To Drive Earnings

Take-Two Interactive Earnings Preview: Analysts Expect Grand Theft Auto To Drive Earnings
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Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ: TTWO) will report its fourth quarter results after market close on Tuesday. Analysts are expecting the video game developer and publisher to earn $0.10 per share on revenue of $201.51 million.

Take-Two reported blowout third quarter earnings on February 3, earning $1.70 per share and beating the consensus estimate by $0.30. Revenue of $767.7 million came $66.5 million ahead of the consensus estimate due to strong holiday season sales of Grand Theft Auto V.

During Take-Two's third quarter earnings report, the company guided its fourth quarter revenue to be $170 million to $200 million and earnings per share to be in a range of $0.00 to $0.10.

On February 14, David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital revealed it owns 4.2 million shares in Take-Two, representing roughly a three percent ownership stake.

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Benchmark: Quarter Should Confirm Thesis

In a brief note to clients, Mike Hickey of Benchmark Capital believes that Take-Two has established a solid stream of digital sales, particularly for its Grand Theft Auto (GTA) franchise. The analyst views this based on recent positive commentary from Take-Two's management team.

Naturally, investors will be paying close attention to Take-Two's digital sales as the industry trend is shifting away from physical purchases towards downloads.

Hickey is projecting Take-Two will earn $0.21 per share on revenue of $238 million.

Shares are Hold rated with a price target of $22.74.

Brean: Anything Else Besides GTA?

Todd Mitchell of Brean Capital can't help but show slight concern that Take-Two's performance is too dependent on GTA.

“We believe the key cog will be the company's ability to leverage GTA Online as well as full game downloads and DLC for its lineup,” Mitchell wrote in a note to clients on Monday. “Take-Two has had a lot of success in this regard with games like Borderlands; however, the company's monetization strategy for GTA 5 remains murky.”

According to Take-Two's management, 70 percent of players with consoles that have a connection to the Internet have accessed GTA Online, leading to a 42 percent increase in third quarter digital revenue.

Mitchell notes that Take-Two will close out a record setting fiscal 2014 and move on to fiscal 2015, which will be full of new game releases.

However, Mitchell notes that despite new releases such as Borderlands and Civilization, as well as several annualized releases of sporting games, the key to upside in fiscal 2015 lies on GTA's online performance.

Mitchell is projecting Take-Two will earn $0.10 per share on revenue of $200 million.

Shares are Hold rated with no set price target.

Wedbush: Expect A Beat

Michael Pachter of Wedbush is expecting Take-Two to report another beat due to strong performance of GTA and NBA 2K14.

A beat in the current quarter is expected given the fact that Take-Two noted its digital revenue in the third quarter was $132.8 million; this implies it needs only a modest-re-order number in the quarter to match guidance, according to Pachter.

Unfortunately, Pachter believes that Take-Two is likely to provide fiscal 2015 guidance below what analysts are expecting. The reason for a lower guidance is due to the fact that Take-Two's lineup of games for fiscal 2015 is “underwhelming.”

“While we confident there will be several other titles released next year, including one from Rockstar, we don't know which games are planned nor the timing,” Pachter explained in a note to clients on May 8.

Pachter is projecting Take-Two will earn $0.15 per share on revenue of $210 million.

Shares are Neutral rated with a $19 price target.

Latest Ratings for TTWO

DateFirmActionFromTo
Dec 2014WedbushMaintainsNeutral
Dec 2014Bank of AmericaMaintainsBuy
Oct 2014Brean CapitalUpgradesHoldBuy

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