Take-Two year-end results slip 37%, Borderlands sells 2M

Publisher suffers from GTAIV-less 12-month period as sales slip to $968 million, Q4 gap wider than expected; Spec Ops due before November 2011.

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Take-Two gave investors anything but cause for holiday cheer earlier this month when it substantially scaled back its earnings estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter. Thanks largely to a massive shortfall created by its Major League Baseball licensing deal, Take-Two trimmed $25 million from its fourth-quarter sales projections and cut earnings per share guidance by $0.25. Investors responded immediately, as Take-Two's stock subsequently shed 30 percent of its value.

Borderlands probably won't be kissing anyone good-bye in the near future.
Borderlands probably won't be kissing anyone good-bye in the near future.

With investors and analysts thus braced, Take-Two today officially announced its results for the fiscal year and fourth quarter ended October 31. Total fiscal-year revenue amounted to $968 million, a far cry from 2008's $1.54 billion haul, which included the record-setting launch of Grand Theft Auto IV. Take-Two also reported a $137.9 million net loss during the period ($1.80 per share), a dramatic reversal from the year-ago period's $97.1 million profit.

Take-Two's fourth-quarter sales actually rose from last year, though they came in lower than even the publisher's updated projection of $350 million to $375 million. During the August-October period, sales were $343 million, up 6 percent from the $323 million generated during the same months a year ago. Losses increased during the quarter, however, as the publisher reported a deficit of $22 million, or $0.28 per share, compared to $15 million a year ago.

Take-Two has previously indicated that Gearbox Software's well-received new franchise, Borderlands, may see a follow-up. Today, the publisher affirmed the game's success, saying it has sold 2 million units worldwide since its late-October launch. Other top performers during the period included NBA 2K10, Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Grand Theft Auto IV.

The publisher also provided a narrowed release window for Spec Ops: The Line, its recently announced third-person tactical military shooter. Take-Two expects to release the Yager-developed game later rather than sooner, as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC title is now slated for the publisher's fiscal year ending October 31, 2011.

As previously announced, Take-Two continues to expect its MLB business to weigh heavily on its current fiscal-year results, with earnings expected to fall in between $1.0 billion and $1.2 billion for the period ending October 31, 2010. Still, Take-Two expects to release a number of anticipated titles during its current fiscal year. These titles include BioShock 2 on February 9 and Red Dead Redemption on April 27, as well as Mafia II and Max Payne 3 later in the year.

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