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THQ off its game as it swings to big quarterly loss

May 07, 2008|Alex Pham | Times Staff Writer

Video game publisher THQ Inc. on Tuesday capped off a rough year with a fiscal fourth-quarter loss, setting off a 6.6% decline in its stock in after-hours trading.

The Calabasas company posted a net loss of $34.5 million, or 52 cents a share, on $187 million in sales for the quarter that ended March 31. It had earned $6.5 million, or 9 cents a share, on revenue of $172.1 million a year earlier.

THQ shares lost 20 cents to $20.35, then tumbled $1.35 to $19 in after-hours trading.

Chief Executive Brian Farrell said THQ faced severe competition in its core market for kids' games, and two heavily marketed titles, "Juiced" and "Stuntman Ignition," failed to become big hits.

"Fiscal 2008 was a tough year for us," Farrell said in a call with analysts.

THQ also said it would cut 200 jobs this year across 17 studios but would simultaneously add 500 jobs -- for a net gain of 300 -- as part of an effort to shift resources to key titles, such as its popular "WWE" wrestling games. It now has 2,400 employees.

The downbeat financial results overshadowed an announcement that THQ had scored an exclusive license to make games for the next movie from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which had been working with Santa Monica-based video game publisher Activision Inc. The movie, code-named "Master Mind," is slated for theaters in 2010.

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alex.pham@latimes.com

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