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THQ's stock falls 40 percent in early trading as analysts pile on
THQ's stock falls 40 percent in early trading as analysts pile on
November 6, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 6, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Recruitment

As analysts question whether Darksiders publisher THQ can last until next year, the company's stock is rapidly falling, currently down 40 percent in early trading today.

While the company beat the forecasts of financial analysts yesterday, the good news was tempered with an overwhelming dollop of bad, as earnings guidance was suspended, and a number of its biggest upcoming games were delayed.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter decreased his fiscal year 2013 revenue estimate for the company as a result from $409 million to $355 million, noting that "the reticence to provide guidance suggests to us that the remainder of the release slate timing is at risk."

"You cannot save your way to prosperity," he added. "Although THQ has been able to lower its cost structure through layoffs and a streamlined release slate in order to temporarily improve profitability, it is unlikely to return to profitability unless its revenues once again begin to grow."

He also said that delaying multiple releases meant that near-term revenues will continue to decline, and development budgets for upcoming games will be even more greatly impacted in a negative way.

Eric Handler from MKM Partners pulled no punches with his analyst note, simply stating, "THQ's FY14 lineup carries potential (South Park, Saints Row), but the big question is, can it make it to next year?"

He later noted that, while he is raising his earnings per share estimate for the company for next year given that South Park: The Stick of Truth is now scheduled for release in the next fiscal year instead, "THQ's lack of execution this entire console cycle gives us little confidence in this outlook."

Cowen's Doug Creutz wasn't exactly complimentary either, noting that THQ perhaps put a bit too much faith in Darksiders 2.

The game "performed below expectations despite what they cited as 'highly-favorable critical reviews'," he said, before adding, "at an 83 Metacritic, we think that is stretching the definition of highly-favorable a bit."

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