November 5, 2015 / 10:01 PM / 3 years ago

'Grand Theft Auto' maker Take-Two's revenue nearly triples

(Reuters) - Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc’s (TTWO.O) third-quarter adjusted revenue nearly tripled, topping analysts’ estimates, as sales of its “Grand Theft Auto V” and “NBA 2K16” titles surged.

Shares of the company, which also owns the “Civilization” game franchise, were up 4.4 percent in extended trading on Thursday.

The company also benefited from its strong digital business, which made up 38.6 percent of its total adjusted sales for the second quarter.

Physical sales of “NBA 2K16”, a basketball simulation game, ranked the highest on research firm NPD Group’s top five games for September. “Grand Theft Auto V” was the fourth in the list for July and August.

Grand Theft Auto, which allows players to cruise around a make-believe gameworld based on real-life locations, is the company’s most lucrative franchise.

The company also raised its full year revenue forecast to $1.33 billion-$1.43 billion from its previous forecast of $1.30 billion-$1.40 billion, and raised its adjusted profit forecast to $1.00-$1.15 per share from 75 cents-$1.00.

Analysts on average, were expecting an adjusted profit of $1.01 per share, on revenue of $1.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Rival Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) said earlier this week it would buy “Candy Crush Saga” creator King Digital Entertainment Plc KING.N for $5.9 billion, as the heavyweight of console and PC-gaming makes a major push into the faster-growing mobile market.

Take-Two Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said the strong players in the videogame market, including Take-Two, have the capital to expand and consolidate.

“In our case, we’re very selective and if we were to pursue inorganic growth we’d want it to be highly accretive for us,” Zelnick said in an interview.

The company reported adjusted net income of $32.7 million, or 30 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Sept. 30, from a net loss of $35.4 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, revenue rose to $364.9 million from $135.4 million.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 15 cents per share and revenue of $318.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s shares closed at $33.05 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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