Take-Two stock sinks on lowered earnings estimate

[UPDATE] Grand Theft Auto publisher's grim 2010 outlook sends shares down 30%; MLB annual loss could hit $35 million; mystery AAA game delayed to FY2011.

For Take Two Interactive, 2012 and the end of its third-party exclusive deal to make Major League Baseball games can't come soon enough. The company today pre-announced disappointing earnings for the fiscal year ended October 31 and gave grim initial guidance for its full fiscal 2010, citing its MLB deal as a major factor in both instances. The publisher's stock price responded immediately, with shares down as much as 21 percent in after-hours trading.

[UPDATE] On Friday, Take-Two's stock continued to be clobbered, falling over 30 percent from its Thursday closing price. At one point, the company's share price was $7.12--down a whopping $4.45 from its weekly high of $11.57.

MLB exclusivity has been a major league goose egg for Take-Two so far.

For the final quarter of its 2009 fiscal year, which ended October 31, Take-Two had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $0.30 to $0.35 on sales of $350 million to $375 million. Today the publisher lowered the earnings per share range by $0.25 and cut $25 million from its sales projections. Final numbers for the quarter are expected to be announced later this month.

Take-Two also gave investors its first outlook for the current fiscal year. For the 12 months ending October 31, 2010, the publisher expects sales of $1 billion to $1.12 billion, with an adjusted net loss per share between $0.40 and $0.60. Between $30 million and $35 million of that net loss (equal to $0.38 to $0.44 per share) will come from the company's Major League Baseball business.

In a post-announcement conference call with analysts, Take-Two CEO Ben Feder attributed underperforming MLB games for the "vast majority" of the recently completed quarter's shortfall. He added that the baseball business was "very difficult" for the publisher, thanks to a lack of growth in the category and the terms of the exclusivity deal, which was negotiated years before the company's current leadership came to power. MLB 2K9 struck out big with critics in March, and Feder said he expected the much-better-reviewed The Bigs 2 to perform better based on sales of its predecessor.

Another factor in the gloomy outlook for the year was the delay of an unannounced "AAA" title beyond the current fiscal year, but Take-Two executives wouldn't specify which one. One of the publisher's announced titles was also delayed, as Max Payne 3 is now expected in the fourth quarter of its current fiscal year (August through October 2010). Previously the game had been expected in the first half of calendar 2010.

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86 comments
aggiemaverick
aggiemaverick

Take2's baseball games are horrible. What is most surprising to me is that MLB itself allowed the company with the worst game to have exclusive rights to make it. Sure they may have been the highest bidder, but that move is hurting baseball's fan base. Look at what madden has done for football; without a quality and enjoyable third party baseball franchise on the market, baseball will suffer. These games don't just cater to fans, they create fans just as playing the particular sports do. Except with the games you get to know that individual athletes, they become stars, and people are more likely to follow them.

arikkot
arikkot

Yeah, 2012 can't come fast enough for Xbox 360 players either, I'm betting. Personally, as a PS3 owner, I'm set with The Show. But if I had a 360, I'd be really pissed off with the garbage 2K keeps churning out year after year. You'd think that they could take at least a little of the good in the NBA 2K series and inject it into their baseball franchise. Instead, they'll just settle for eating their exclusivity contract. Whatever.

guardian911
guardian911

The baseball business is "very difficult"? Sure it is when you produce such a horrible console game like MLB 2k9. Come up with a good game like MVP baseball. Test it, perfect it and watch how fast the copies fly off the shelf.

lhrag
lhrag

not surprising at all considering the mess they made with mld 2k9...

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

yep that contract's killing them, don't know how they can make NBA game so good and crappy MLB games

th3d3m0n666
th3d3m0n666

seriously, everyone that tells them to quit making baseball games needs to read the article. THey signed a contract that made them HAVE to make baseball games til' 2012.

guichan
guichan

they are needing something good as GTA IV but something tottaly diferent like a sport game or some other type of game , I dont really like take two because of GTA or Bioshock but those really good games that ive played were body harvest and sillycon valley

ColdGen
ColdGen

Bioshock 2 should shake things up a bit - if it is half as good as the original.

Depresso
Depresso

Not to go over the old debate about sony and microsoft but i think competition is a healthy thing. I own every console but the PS3, which I am sure I will buy at some stage, and i've gotta say that I have had my xbox back from repairs in a week ! It is also clear that right now at least, the 360 is the main console for third party back up and that it's online service is streets ahead of the PSN. Sony has made the mistake of over pricing itself and believing that a more advanced machine is all that people want. Good games is what people want and apart from Uncharted and Killzone2 sony's machine seriously lack top exclusives. Heavy Rain cannot come soon enough but a price cut is also a must. But whatever happen this generation I certainly do not want to see the demise of any company. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo can all co-habit the same planet.

Willceace
Willceace

@ brendanhunt1 Because those companies are happy to bring out the exact same game every year with a few minor changes and new box art. Saves on programming costs. I could state a few companies that deserve to be sh**canned. EA Sports KOEI THQ And of course Nintendo. I believe their major money spinners are the zelda / mario / metroid games. All re-released every other year with a little graphical shine and a few more features. That's good business.....

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

If take 2 could make their baseball games then it would be better.I mean you put the show and bigs or MLB2k9 side by side seriously what one would you choose? @SalarianChemist you need to give it a rest your a lem and have a hatred for sony we get it...

Crossel777
Crossel777

They need more new franchises. Then again so do a lot of game developers. Cashing in on the same franchise wont last.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

why is it always the good ones that go downhill while the most hated ones laugh all the way to the bank

Awful_Cleric
Awful_Cleric

Economy Sucks Everyones Stock Has Dipped...Real News Please.

dwd_27
dwd_27

2k have realesed some good games like nhl 2k10

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

short sell this stock now, you can make some $$$. please help sink the ship.

bbdowalt
bbdowalt

Looks like that exclusive DLC for GTA IV on Xbox hasn't helped a great deal either? hhahaaha

mikeyvp87
mikeyvp87

@SalarianChemist So what incentive would people have to buy their system? The Show is a main incentive and it hurts 2K every year since most PS3 baseball fans are not going to buy that version. I actually think 2K should make the next one a 360 and Wii exclusive to see if the renewed focus on 2 hardware SKU's can help them beat the Show. I highly doubt it though. The commercials don't lie when they say it's the most realistic baseball game ever made.

VectrexFanBoy
VectrexFanBoy

SalarianChemist LOl if sony stopped making hardware the only 2 video game companies making hardware would be nintendo and microsoft. so we'd have a choice of a console that blows up or a console that's outdated beyond belief. LOl i think sony has to keep making hardware...

tevic
tevic

aaargh !!! I hope that the delayed "AAA title" is not the next GTA !!!

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

MLB is one of the reasons why many critics say Sony should stop producing hardware and instead focus on software the way that Sega did. Being able to play a nice baseball game like that on the Wii or with Natal on the Xbox 360 would be great. It would help Sony become profitable again.

cajunstrike
cajunstrike

Agreed. The next Grand Theft Auto release should be remedy enough...

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

A little off topic but does anyone know if Sony makes a baseball game for the Japanese market, with Japanese teams and players using The Show engine?

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

Just think 2K, the ONLY reason that you sold any copies of MLB 2K9 is because MLB The Show is only on the PS3. Ive never understood, and this goes for EA and THQ as well, how the hell can a sports game franchise(SvR series, NBA Live series until this year, NHL 2K series, Madden little to no improvements at all year after year) actually get worse?

bizuit
bizuit

Maybe if you made a better baseball game it wouldn't underperform. I got MLB 2k8 and it was so bad I passed on on 2k9 but I did get the Show for my PSP and that game was better on a handheld than 2K was on my 360....

corwinn01
corwinn01

Maybe they should quit making sports games that are already flooding the market.

luc11044
luc11044

MLB the Show is so much better than the MLB 2K series....

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

"grim initial guidance for its full fiscal 2010" so no agent or gta anytime soon then, damm

SteveC627
SteveC627

Serves 'em right! This was simply a knee-jerk reaction by 2K to losing NFL football rights to EA. Their baseball franchise is godawful.

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

What's with the anonymity people? You just rate me down and ignore me, at least say something in reply.

ryan_yankee26
ryan_yankee26

God I cant wait until their deal with major league baseball is over. I am a big fan of the 2k basketball games, their awesome. However they just can'mt make baseball games......The MVP Baseball games were the best baseball games ever...I hope EA gets the MLB rights again

nickythenewt21
nickythenewt21

Hopefully BioShock 2 sells a lot so that 2K bounce back. I know that I'll be helping them with their money problems. :D

Gen_Warbuff
Gen_Warbuff

Maybe if they would stop releasing bug/glitch filled baseball games their numbers would be better.

Trogeton
Trogeton

it will get better... it happens to all stocks

themyth01
themyth01

Time to buy then. You know they will go back up as soon as we see the next GTA debut.

Fumanchu2
Fumanchu2

I love to play and watch baseball and I love video games, but I never play baseball games besides old NES games like Baseball Stars, RBI Baseball, and Base Wars (Robots + Weapons + Baseball ftw!)

LobetheKing
LobetheKing

Stop making horrible baseball games then! I love baseball and only have a 360 and I'm not buying another 2k baseball game until they prove they can get it right. They've burned mt too many times the past few years.

bumpies
bumpies

Buy shares now. bioshock 2, l.a.noire, agent, gta 5,mafia 2,red dead redemption are all on their way in the next year or two so the share price will rise fast!!

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

MLB The Show exclusive to SONY is the best but for god's sake! it's also exclusive in NA region, never come to PAL. :(

CTR360
CTR360

gtav probably i hope agent and la noire coming this year

skasuperhero
skasuperhero

I'm just glad they didn't get full exclusivity because their baseball games have always been terrible in my opinion.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

2K will bounce back with the awesome Bioshock 2!

shystie1
shystie1

All EA sports games feel like just a slightly updated version of the previous year's title. It doesn't make for a very compelling reason to buy some of their titles.