Shares of Take-Two opened 31% lower this morning, after the renegade video game company delivered disappointing results and an even bleaker outlook.
The poor performance of its baseball-related releases finds Take-Two targeting a non-GAAP profit of no more than $0.10 a share for its fiscal fourth quarter that ended in October, and that's before stock-based compensation expenses and goodwill impairment charges knock results firmly into the red. Analysts were expecting an adjusted profit of $0.33 a share.
Hopes for a turnaround in the new fiscal year were also shot down. Take-Two's new guidance calls for a $0.40 to $0.60 loss per share on a non-GAAP basis on $1.0 billion to $1.2 billion in revenue. That's too much red ink for the pros. Wall Street figured that Take-Two would bounce back with a profit of $0.64 a share on $1.24 billion in revenue.
If there is any silver lining to this very ugly report, it's that BioShock2 is still on track for a Feb. 9 release date. The way debuts have been slipping at Take-Two over the past year, it can really use a timely hit. Red Dead Redemption and new installments in the Mafia and Max Payne franchises are also slated for the fiscal year, but Take-Two is already warning investors that it won't be enough to turn a profit.
These are hard times for the video game industry. Activision Blizzard
Naturally Take-Two didn't have this kind of gloomy visibility when it turned away an EA offering more than three times the stock's current price last summer. However, Take-Two still had enough of its flawed vision at the time to make it think that either EA would come back with a higher offer or that Activision Blizzard, Viacom
None of this happened, and now Take-Two cries alone.