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Analyst: Take-Two 'Diversifying' Away From GTA Dependence

Kaufman Bros. analyst Todd Mitchell says Take-Two is "successfully diversifying away from its dependence on GTA," bullish on the company's near-term prospects even assuming GTA V won't launch until fiscal 2011.
Although analysts are often dubious on Take-Two's earnings power in years with no major GTA release, Kaufman Bros. analyst Todd Mitchell says the publisher will be profitable in fiscal 2010 even with no Grand Theft Auto V. "We believe concerns that there would be no GTA V in fiscal 2010 and that Take-Two was too dependent on this IP have weighed on the stock," says Mitchell, as Kaufman upgraded its rating on the company from Hold to Buy. "Take-Two is successfully diversifying away from its dependence on GTA," he adds, anticipating strong sales of BioShock 2 and the release of two other Rockstar titles, Red Dead Redemption and PlayStation 3-exclusive Agent, plus Mafia II and an unannounced title from 2K Games. There's also GTA: Chinatown Stories for the PSP, Mitchell adds, also factoring in the release of new GTA episodes including The Ballad Of Gay Tony. "We now look for the release of GTA V in fiscal 2011, and believe IP introduced in fiscal 2010 can be turned into iterative franchises that will improve Take-Two's long-term earnings profile by lessening its dependence on GTA," he says. Rockstar's work is a core component of Take-Two's business nonetheless, the analyst says, estimating that 44 percent of a projected $412 million in 2009 revenue will come from the well-reputed label, just about half of that from catalog sales.. Compare that to 2008's GTA IV release, however, when Rockstar accounted for $885 million.

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