Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) came into 2020 with a lot of promise thanks to its strategy of building sustainable titles, and it hasn't taken long for the stock to deliver a nice reward to investors. Shares of the mobile gaming specialist surged over 25% after a solid fourth-quarter earnings report that gave investors enough reasons to believe that the stock could be a winner this year.
Revenue was up 18% year over year, and the company turned the prior-year quarter's loss of $0.01 per share into a profit of $0.07 per share. Glu Mobile ended 2019 with record bookings of $423.3 million, an increase of 10% over 2018. And now, it looks all set to build upon last quarter's strong showing, which could ensure that it remains a top growth stock for the remainder of the year. Let's see why.
Glu Mobile is set up for success in 2020
Glu Mobile is guiding for bookings between $423 million and $433 million this year. Though the range is close to what the company generated in 2019, investors should note that management hasn't included any potential contribution from the new games that are set to launch in 2020.
This means that Glu is confident it can deliver a modest performance this year even without new games. But more importantly, the company believes that its existing portfolio of titles can deliver growth in 2020 at a lower cost base. The company projects user acquisition and marketing expenses of about $110 million this year at the midpoint of its guidance range. That's lower than the actual expense of $118 million incurred for this line item last year.
So don't be surprised to see Glu Mobile deliver an improved earnings performance in 2020 as it counts on the continued success of its three core titles -- Design Home, Tap Sports Baseball, and Covet Fashion -- which accounted for 79% of total bookings in 2019. Bookings for these titles also increased 16.4% during the year, and management is taking steps to ensure that they continue to deliver in 2020 as well.
Glu's biggest winner, Design Home, is expected to deliver high single-digits bookings growth this year. The company has recently updated this title with new events and features, and it's now exploring the option of extending the title to a new platform to increase audience engagement. Along with Tap Sports Baseball, Glu plans to offer Design Home on internet browsers as well.
The company hasn't yet provided details about how it plans to go about this strategy. But moving beyond the application-based mobile gaming platform could help Glu bring more users into the fold as progressive web applications have the potential to replace native mobile applications.
The company is on track to update the Tap Sports Baseball franchise with new features next month, too. Management says it will expand the title to more than 100 new countries, give players access to all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the game, and introduce the popular Aaron Judge as a cover athlete.
In all, Glu has the necessary strategy in place to sustain the success of its most important titles. But at the same time, the company has also lined up a few interesting releases for 2020 that investors should watch closely.
New games could supercharge the company's growth
Apart from the updates to existing games, Glu Mobile has lined up three upcoming releases. They are Disney Sorcerers Arena, Originals, and Deer Hunter Next, all of which are currently in the beta-testing phase.
During the earnings call, Glu noted that Disney Sorcerers Arena -- set to be launched next month -- is yielding positive results in the beta phase, and the company believes it could become a long-term growth driver along with Deer Hunter Next. So while existing games offer Glu financial stability, new titles should serve as growth catalysts.
Glu is already witnessing a nice contribution from Diner DASH Adventures, which was launched in 2019. Since its launch in June last year, the title generated $25 million in bookings in the final six months of 2019 and accounted for nearly 6% of the company's total annual bookings. If the new titles manage to repeat that success in 2020, then the company can easily exceed its bookings guidance for 2020.
Already up over 20% in the past month, the stock's bright start to the year seems here to stay.