Take-Two sales sink 12% in June quarter

Publisher posts $8.7 million loss on revenues of $334.4 million in April-June period; Red Dead Redemption franchise sells 11 million.

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Take-Two did not solve the case of sinking sales in its latest quarter. Despite strong sales of L.A. Noire, the New York City-based company today reported its first-quarter 2012 financial results, saying that in the April-June period the publisher posted a 12 percent revenue dip.

Take-Two predicted a revenue drop for the quarter, and that's just what it got.
Take-Two predicted a revenue drop for the quarter, and that's just what it got.

Net revenues for the quarter came in at an expected $334.4 million, down from the $375.4 million it posted a year ago. The company also reversed last year's profit during the quarter, posting an $8.7 million loss for the period. This marks a sharp decrease from the $27.4 million in profit Take-Two made during the period a year ago.

In a postearnings call this afternoon, Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick elaborated on sales of individual titles. He said the "Red Dead Redemption franchise" has sold to retailers 11 million units. This figure includes sales of the stand-alone Undead Nightmare disc, which went on sale at retail last November, but not digitally distributed copies of the game.

As for the zombie add-on, Zelnick said the Undead Nightmare pack has sold in 2 million units at retail. He did not reveal how many copies of the add-on were sold through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Zelnick also touted sales of NBA 2K11, saying the basketball sim has sold 5.5 million units to retailers during the quarter.

Last week, Gearbox Software officially announced Borderlands 2, which Take-Two will publish. Now it appears that the "no-brainer" sequel was just that. Zelnick confirmed during the call that the original Borderlands has sold 4.5 million units since its debut in 2009.

The company's sales sheet did see a burgeoning sector, however. Digitally delivered content accounted for $24.6 million in revenue during the quarter, marking a steep 49 percent increase from the year prior. Take-Two attributed this uptick to digital sales of Red Dead Redemption, Borderlands, the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Duke Nukem Forever, the Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise, and L.A. Noire.

Of note, Take-Two projected profits for its April 2012-March 2013 fiscal year to come in at $2.00 earnings per share. This guidance is well above the $0.10 to $0.35 EPS Take-Two expects to hit during its in-progress fiscal year, and it led one analyst to ask during Take-Two's postearnings call whether it can be assumed, given the EPS expectation, that a new Grand Theft Auto will arrive during the quarter.

Unfortunately, the executives did not take the bait, with Zelnick saying only that the publisher has a number of high-profile releases scheduled during the year and that Take-Two does not expect to be hampered by its MLB exclusivity contract. These titles include Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and BioShock Infinite. During the fiscal year in which Red Dead Redemption was released, Take-Two posted EPS of $1.02 per share.

Take-Two said it expects revenues to come in at $1 billion to $1.1 billion for its in-progress fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.

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