Take-Two shares surge 9% after game maker beats expectations due to 'Grand Theft Auto Online'

Key Points
  • Take-Two reports earnings and revenue above the average analyst estimates for its June quarter.
  • CEO Strauss Zelnick cites strong sales from "Grand Theft Auto Online" and "NBA 2K18" for the out-performance.
Source: Take-Two Interactive Software

Investors are loving Take-Two Interactive's latest financial results.

The shares of the game publisher closed up 9 percent Friday, a day after it reported June quarter non-GAAP earnings per share of 12 cents versus the Wall Street consensus of 7 cents. Take-Two also posted adjusted revenue of $288 million for the quarter versus the $258 million average analyst estimate.

"Fiscal 2019 is off to a solid start, with first quarter operating results that exceeded our expectations," CEO Strauss Zelnick said in a statement Thursday. "This performance was driven by better-than-expected recurrent consumer spending on Grand Theft Auto Online and NBA 2K18, as well as robust ongoing demand for Grand Theft Auto V, which is now approaching 100 million units sold-in to date."

KeyBanc Capital Markets predicts Take-Two will generate stellar results in the coming year.

"We continue to have conviction and recommend buying TTWO. 1Q results were above expectations primarily driven by recurrent consumer spending (RCS)," analyst Evan Wingren said in a note to clients Thursday. "TTWO has opportunities for growth and upside moving into [fiscal] 2H19, driven by Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2). The continued buyback of stock signals confidence in that upside."

Wingren reiterated his overweight rating and $152 price target for Take-Two shares, representing 34 percent upside to Thursday's close.

One hedge fund manager is likely benefiting from the rise in the stock.

At last month's Delivering Alpha Conference, Margate Capital Management's Samantha Greenberg said she was a big believer in Take-Two Interactive.

She said the company's upcoming games such as "Red Dead Redemption 2" will drive strong revenue growth in the coming years.

"Take-Two content pipeline is the largest in the company's history," she said on July 18.

The company's stock is up 3 percent this year through Thursday compared with the S&P 500's 6 percent return.