The company reported revenue below analysts' estimates and issued lower-than-expected guidance for the fiscal first quarter, but investors overlooked that shortfall. The stock was hammered in late 2018, so there were low expectations baked in to the stock price heading into the latest earnings report.
Management had several positive things to talk about during the conference call that encouraged investors. Most notably, existing games are performing very well, and the company plans to ramp up spending this year for new releases in the next few years.
Wall Street has been worried about competition from popular battle royale shooters like Epic Games' Fortnite, but Take-Two's flagship games continue to attract millions of players. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption had a combined 90 million unique player accounts in fiscal 2018 (which ended in March). Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold 24 million units since its launch last fall, and NBA 2K19 is on pace to be the best-selling sports title in the company's history. These numbers reveal strength, not weakness.
Take-Two might have missed Wall Street's numbers, but results were within management's previous guidance. Net bookings increased 19% year over year to $488 million, in line with management's guidance of $450 million to $500 million. Recurrent consumer spending (or in-game spending) increased 27% -- outperforming management's outlook for 10% growth -- and made up 62% of net bookings.
Take-Two issued guidance below analysts' estimates for fiscal 2020, but keep in mind that the company is known to give conservative guidance at the start of the fiscal year.
Management is calling for fiscal 2020 net bookings to be between $2.5 billion and $2.6 billion. That's down from $2.929 billion in fiscal 2019. GAAP earnings per share are expected to be in the range from $3.39 to $3.65, while net cash from operating activities is expected to be more than $430 million, down from $843 million last year.
Revenue this year will be down because the company faces tough comparisons in fiscal 2020 with last year's blockbuster release of Red Dead 2. However, management called fiscal 2020 "a year of significant investment" as management paves the way for long-term growth by investing in technology and new games.
President Karl Slatoff said, "You will expect to see these investments coming to fruition over the next few years." Investors are optimistic about what these investments could mean for the future, which explains why the stock shot up last month.