The mobile-gaming publisher's shares climbed following a healthy debut for its game MLB Tap Sports Baseball 18 and indications that the company would post strong quarterly results in May.
Glu Mobile released MLB Tap Sports Baseball on March 28, and early tracking and comments from management suggest that the game is off to a strong start. This contributed to stock-price momentum heading into the company's first-quarter earnings release on May 1 -- a release that recorded solid performance, thanks to staying power for key titles like Design Home and Kim Kardashian Hollywood.
Sales for the company's first quarter climbed 44% year over year, to reach $81.4 million, and losses per share narrowed from $0.17 in the prior-year quarter to a loss of $0.05 per share. The company also gave a promising target for the current quarter, guiding for bookings between $90 million and $92 million.
The company's stock popped following earnings and is up roughly 20% since the release, as of this writing. A strong launch for MLB Tap Sports Baseball 18 bodes well for the current quarter and the remainder of the year -- though it's probably too early to call the game an unqualified hit. Glu's sales come from a small selection of properties, and the company's growth trajectory hinges on its ability to create new franchises and maintain existing hits.
Looking at the franchise pipeline, Glu's Kim Kardashian Hollywood continues to be a strong performer, as it helped push bookings from legacy titles to 32% of sales last quarter and has recorded three consecutive quarters of bookings growth. The company also is on track to release a WWE-branded wrestling game and some new intellectual properties this year.
For the full-year period, Glu expects bookings between $360 million and $370 million -- representing 14% year-over-year growth at the midpoint. The company is valued at two times forward sales, but 24 times forward earnings, so the stock may have appeal to investors seeking potential value plays in the gaming space. However, the hit-driven nature of the business also makes performance difficult to estimate.