Take-Two earnings soar on 'Grand Theft Auto' sales

Video game maker announces better-than-expected earnings thanks to recording-setting sales of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Video game maker Take-Two Interactive Software announced better-than-expected earnings on Thursday thanks to recording-setting sales of Grand Theft Auto IV.

For the second quarter ended April 30, net profit was $98.2 million, or $1.29 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $51.3 million, or 71 cents per share, in the second quarter of fiscal 2007. Sales were up more than 160 percent to $539.8 million for the period, blowing away analyst estimates of $499.1 million.

The company also raised its forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Take-Two said it expects to earn 45 cents to 55 cents per share, excluding special items, on revenue of between $325 million and $375 million in its current, third fiscal quarter.

In May, Take-Two announced that the new game had raked in all-time records of $310 million on its launch day of April 29 and $500 million during its first week. The single-day figure shattered the previous record, set last September by Halo 3, of $170 million.

The company, which has rejected a $2 billion buyout offer from rival game maker Electronic Arts, is also having "formal discussions" with other parties about strategic alternatives, Chief Executive Ben Feder told Reuters.

"The board remains committed to exploring strategic alternatives and we're actively engaged in that process now," Feder said. "We have had and are having formal discussions with a number of interested parties."

EA, which offered $25.74 a share for Take-Two in April, is undaunted in its takeover bid. The company recently announced another extension of its merger offer.

Shares of Take-Two were up 34 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $27.65 in after-hours trading.

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