The novel coronavirus pandemic has dented economic activity across the globe and caused losses for businesses both big and small, but it has also turned out to be a tailwind for certain companies. Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is one such company that seems to be benefiting from the shelter-in-place orders and the lockdowns instituted across the globe to contain the COVID-19 disease.
The mobile gaming specialist has delivered terrific first-quarter results, and also raised its full-year guidance. That's not surprising -- the novel coronavirus outbreak has led to a surge in mobile gaming activity, and Glu Mobile was well-placed to take advantage of it.
Glu Mobile hits it out of the park
Glu Mobile's quarterly revenue increased 12% annually to $107.3 million during the first quarter that ended on March 31. The company's bookings for the quarter increased at a much faster pace of 15% year-over-year, rising to $106.5 million.
The robust quarterly performance has encouraged Glu to raise its full-year bookings guidance to a range of $490 million to $500 million. The company was originally anticipating $428 million in bookings at the mid-point of its earlier guidance range. So Glu has bumped its bookings guidance by almost 16% at the mid-point of the new range.
The jump in the bookings guidance is good news for Glu Mobile investors, as the metric indicates how much money its users have committed to spend on its titles. The fact that Glu was able to continue launching new games in the wake of the pandemic seems to have given it an added boost.
It launched the highly anticipated Disney Sorcerer's Arena toward the end of March, just a few days after releasing MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020. Though these games were launched quite late into the quarter, they did manage to make a mark for themselves. Glu's bookings from the MLB Tap Sports Baseball franchise increased 21.3% year over year thanks to the new launch.
Disney Sorcerer's Arena contributed just $1.4 million during the quarter, but Glu expects the game to add $40 million in bookings this year, as it pointed out on the latest earnings conference call. More importantly, Glu points out that its bookings guidance for the second half of the year "assumes no uplift from the shelter-in-place mandates."
The company's forecast also accounts for the potential lack of baseball this season. As a result, it assumes that the performance of the MLB Tap Sports Baseball franchise will remain flat for the remainder of the year compared to last year's levels.
So Glu Mobile looks all set to do well despite the headwinds it may face this year. This is the reason why it could continue to remain a top growth stock amid the coronavirus blues and deliver more upside.
More reasons to stay long
Glu's resilient mobile gaming business is backed by a robust balance sheet. At the end of the first quarter, the company had nearly $115 million in cash and no debt. Glu aims to end the year with at least $155 million in cash, which looks achievable as the company has been able to increase its margins and cash flow over time.
The company expects to exit 2020 with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 15% in the fourth quarter, indicating a nice bump from current levels. The adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to increase on a sequential basis over the remaining quarters of the year as Glu lowers its spending on user acquisition.
All in all, Glu Mobile ticks all the boxes of a coronavirus-resistant stock. Its business is ticking up as people take to mobile gaming to pass time, it has a solid balance sheet, and it expects to sustain the momentum when shelter-in-place orders are gradually lifted.