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GTA parent publisher to buy out billionaire's stake for $203.5 million

Take-Two Interactive expecting to complete the purchase of 12.02 million shares at $16.93 each from Icahn Group later today.


Grand Theft Auto parent publisher Take-Two Interactive is in the process of buying back $203.5 million worth of stock from billionaire Carl Icahn, bringing to an end his involvement with the company.

Take-Two's plan is to purchase all of the Icahn Group's stock, 12.02 million shares, at yesterday's closing price of $16.93 per share. The deal is expected to close today.

As part of a past agreement between the Icahn Group and Take-Two, it was decided that if the Icahn Group sold its position in the publisher, its board members would resign.

With the share buyback expected to close today, board members Brett Icahn, Jim Nelson, and SungHwan Cho have stepped down from the board, leaving five members.

"On behalf of our board and management team, I would like to thank Brett, James, and Sung for their support, dedication, and service to our organization," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in a statement. "They leave Take-Two better positioned than ever for continued success.”

As a result of the three departures, the remaining board members--Zelnick, Michael Sheresky, J. Moses, Robert Bowman, and Michael Dornemann--will revisit the size and composition of the board, as well as its committees

Activist investor Icahn, 77, purchased 11 percent of Take-Two shares in December 2009. Investors are not responding positively to the share buyback today, as Take-Two shares are trading down close to 4.5 percent at press time.

Icahn's departure from Take-Two comes just months after the record-setting release of Grand Theft Auto V, which generated $1 billion in three days. The game has shipped more than 29 million copies to date.

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