In late December -- a little more than halfway through its fiscal first quarter -- the video game publisher hosed down its guidance as the result of an asset sale. It would come through with $90 million to $140 million in revenue. Its non-GAAP loss from continuing operations would bleed between $0.45 and $0.55 a share.
Analysts took the bait. Net revenue ended up rising 9% to $163.2 million, instead of tanking as even the company had projected. Its non-GAAP deficit of $0.31 a share for the quarter also clocked in less bloody than Take-Two's outlook.
The refreshing kicker here is that this all took place before BioShock 2 even hit the market. Take-Two has gone on to ship more than 3 million copies of the game since its February debut. The game's popularity finds Take-Two targeting an adjusted profit of $0.20 to $0.30 a share for the current quarter, though the publisher still expects a loss for the entire fiscal year.
None of this makes Take-Two's decision to rebuff Electronic Arts'
Before last night's report, the last time that Take-Two generated some positive buzz was when activist billionaire Carl Icahn took an 11% stake in the company three months ago.
Icahn hasn't had much success with consumer-facing investments lately. Yahoo!
He may be in over his head on this one, if EA, Viacom
Icahn is usually pretty good about smoking out a buyer. That seems to be the best option for Take-Two investors as we settle into this long lull between major Grand Theft Auto releases.
Overselling the pain may have worked heading into last night's report, but the industry's problems are deep, and the exit strategies are few.
Is a buyout Take-Two's best shot for serious capital appreciation? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz will admit to still playing video games, though finding time is the rub. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.