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Take-Two Interactive Narrows Its Loss

Updated from 4:25 p.m. EDT

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) offered a mixed message to investors on Thursday, topping revenue and earnings expectations in its just-completed quarter, but offering worse-than-expected guidance for the current period.

Shares of the video-game software publisher dropped slightly in after-hours trading; the stock was recently off 12 cents, or less than 1%, to $26.25.

In its fiscal second quarter, Take-Two narrowed its red ink 44% from the year-ago period, posting a loss of $8.19 million, or 12 cents a share. The company's sales surged 45% from a year ago to $222.1 million.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to lose 13 cents a share in the quarter on sales of $208.7 million. Company officials had predicted that Take-Two would lose a split-adjusted 13 cents a share on sales ranging from $200 million to $210 million.

For the third fiscal quarter, Take-Two expects to lose 5 cents to 10 cents a share on sales of $205 million to $215 million.

That outlook is well below the Street's forecast. Analysts were expecting the company to post a profit of 7 cents a share for the current period on $235.87 million in sales.

In a statement, the company said that the lowered outlook was due to the move of several key game titles from the third to the fourth quarter, including the next iteration of its flagship Grand Theft Auto series, Liberty City Stories, which Take-Two is designing for Sony's (SNE) PlayStation Portable handheld system.

By delaying the launch of Liberty City Stories, the company will be able to debut the title simultaneously in Europe and North America -- and around the same time that Sony launches the PSP in Europe, CFO Karl Winters said on a conference call. Take-Two delayed the other two titles -- Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth and its Top Spin tennis game -- to allow for more development on the games.

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