Take-Two gains on gaming demand rebound, title delivery forecast

NBA 2K22 and Grand Theft Auto 5 by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc are seen for sale in a store in Manhattan, New York City

By Tiyashi Datta

(Reuters) -Take-Two Interactive Software Inc on Wednesday beat analyst estimates for quarterly adjusted sales on strong demand from legacy titles "NBA 2K" and "Grand Theft Auto", sending the video game publisher's shares up 8% in extended trading.

The company also said it expects to deliver 36 video game titles through 2025 and 2026, and forecast $8 billion in 2025 net bookings and over $1 billion in operating cash flow.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said "that's enough to send the stock higher".

Take-Two, however, did not make any announcements about its highly anticipated title "Grand Theft Auto VI".

Its results follow an upbeat performance from peer Electronic Arts and "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard Inc, confirming signs of the video gaming industry rebounding from a sluggish 2022 due to decades-high inflation.

Take-Two has established itself as one of the dominant players in the U.S. with strong sales from its successful video game franchises and a solid pipeline including titles like "Star Wars Hunters".

Its fourth-quarter adjusted sales grew 65% to $1.39 billion, compared with Wall Street's estimate of $1.34 billion, according to Refinitiv data. But the company missed profit estimates, on acquisition-related charges.

During an earnings call with analysts, Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said Take-Two was assuming a continuation of the current challenging consumer backdrop within its forecast.

Its annual adjusted revenue forecast between $5.45 billion and $5.55 billion came below Street's estimate of $6.07 billion.

"Additionally, the development time lines of some of our titles lengthened especially as we strive to redefine the creative standards of excellence of our industry, which affect our release slate for the year," Zelnick added.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Yamini Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)