* Q4 earns miss expectations
* Q1 outlook sharply behind Wall Street target
* Shares drop 21 percent (Adds quote from chairman)
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. video games publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc TTWO.O posted a quarterly net loss and fiscal 2009 forecast below Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, citing weak consumer spending amid a global economic downturn, sending shares down 21 percent.
Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick told Reuters the company “witnessed significant softness” in retail sales.
The company, best known for its “Grand Theft Auto” franchise, said net loss for the fourth-quarter was $15 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with a loss of $7.1 million, or 10 cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding stock-based compensation expenses, Take-Two forecast a first-quarter loss ranging between 70 cents and 85 cents, sharply missing the average analysts’ estimate of 4 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company forecast first-quarter revenue to range between $175 million to $225 million, missing Wall Street estimates of $310.75 million on Reuters Estimates.
Take-Two expects fiscal 2009 profit to range between nil and 20 cents per share, significantly missing the average analysts’ estimate of $1.21 per share.
Shares of Take-Two fell to $9.56 in extended trade on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Jennifer Martinez; Editing by Toni Reinhold)
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