Take-Two Interactive 3Q Profit Widens on Holiday Demand

Fueled by strong demand during the holidays for its Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto franchises, Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO) revealed a stronger-than-expected 39% increase in third-quarter profit.

The New York-based company posted net income of $40.8 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $29.4 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding special items, the company earned 52 cents a share, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 34 cents.

Revenue for the videogame maker was $334.3 million, down from $360.4 million a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $309.8 million.

“Strong holiday sales enabled Take-Two to continue to deliver better-than-expected revenue and earnings in the third quarter,” Strauss Zelnick, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Our results year-to-date clearly demonstrate the company’s ability to translate its world-class creative resources and diverse portfolio of triple-A franchises into meaningful profits.”

Sales were boosted by strong demand for NBA 2K11, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete, Borderlands, Game of the Year and Sid Meier’s Civilization games. Other games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise also contributed to the growth, as did its Rockstar games, particularly Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare.

Based on its strong year-to-date results, the company increased in fiscal 2011 guidance, now expecting non-GAAP earnings in the range of 80 cents to 85 cents a share on revenues between $1.08 billion to $1.10 billion. Wall Street is expecting earnings of 67 cents on revenue of $1.08 billion.