Risk & Compliance

Shareholders: Take a Hike, Take-Two

An investor group that owns a major piece of the ''Grand Theft Auto'' software company will put up its own slate of directors and possibly give the...
Dave Cook and Stephen TaubMarch 7, 2007

A number of newly powerful shareholders of Take-Two Interactive Software, the company best-known for its blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” series of video games, are ready to move in on the company’s turf, or at least its board of directors.

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, an investor group — including hedge fund giants D.E. Shaw, SAC Capital, and Tudor Investment, as well as Oppenheimer Funds — announced that it has taken a roughly 47 percent stake in Take-Two. The group plans to put up its own slate of six directors at the company’s annual meeting on March 23.

If successful, the investor group added, it plans to replace chief executive officer Paul Eibeler and review the employment status of (read: possibly fire) chief financial officer Karl Winters.

The dissident slate includes former BMG Entertainment chief executive officer Strauss Zelnick, who would serve as chairman; Benjamin Feder; Jon J. Moses; Michael Dornemann; Michael James Sheresky; and a sixth person yet to be named. The investors’ filing stated added that one of two incumbents, Grover C. Brown and John Levy, may be included among the six director candidates.

Take-Two lost money in each of the four quarters of fiscal 2006.

In December, the company restated its results by $42.1 million for the period April 1997 through October 31, 2005 — its fourth restatement since 2001 — stemming from its prior practices of granting stock options.

Last month, former chairman and chief executive officer Ryan Brant pleaded guilty to falsifying records, becoming the first CEO convicted for his role a stock-option backdating scheme.