Take-Two shareholder unrest grows

Two major Take-Two shareholders have downsized their holdings in the company; others have filed a lawsuit.


Electronic Arts raised eyebrows two weeks ago when it offered to buy Take-Two Interactive for 64 percent more than the company's closing stock price. The Grand Theft Auto IV and BioShock publisher raised even more eyebrows when it turned down EA's advances, stating that the $1.9 billion offer on the table was too low.

Since then, everyone has been waiting to see what EA's next move will be; will the megapublisher attempt a hostile takeover, will it enter a higher bid, or will it walk away?

Yesterday, the two biggest Take-Two shareholders drastically reduced their stake in the company, as reported by Reuters. The majority shareholder, US mutual-fund company Oppenheimer Funds, halved its shares to 8.8 million, and now owns a mere 11.5 percent of Take Two, down from 23 percent. The second-largest shareholder, FMR LLC, also ditched 16 percent of its stock, which means that it now has a 14.7 percent stake.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter commented, "To the extent there was speculation that shareholders would band together and hold out for more money from EA, that's kind of shot down now. They are voting on this deal, and they are voting with their feet. They know they have no leverage."

In a development also reported by Reuters, a shareholder lawsuit was filed in a Delaware court that accused Take-Two of "breaches of fiduciary duty" by not discussing EA's offer, and for securing large payouts for executives if the company did get acquired.

On Friday, Take-Two also announced that executive employees would nab 1.5 times their salary as well as a bonus for up to 18 months in the event of losing their jobs due to a buyout, whereas all other employees would be paid up to the equivalent of six months' salary if they were laid off.

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Avatar image for gamerkingg

that would suck if you lost your job from a take over!

Avatar image for Petri87

@slipknotmaggot1 - They can't leave, Take Two owns both of themand why would they, they will get more money if they stay. The ppl can leave but all IP will remaine at Rockstar and 2k.

Avatar image for duck_watson

bioshock 2k8 Street anyone?

Avatar image for slipknotmaggot1

Rockstar and 2K should forget take-two and leave, and start a new company. They make some of the best games out there..

Avatar image for valdarez

Looks like Take Two made a SMART decision. Check out Motley Fools article on EA's Highway Robbery Attempt - << LINK REMOVED >>

Avatar image for fanirama

I'm no fan of EA, but now I'm no fan of Take-Two either. Those greedy corporate bastards want even more money, security of 3 times as many months' pay + bonus. For what ? What did they do ? Take-Two is not doing well financially without profitable quarters. The CEO and other top execs should be fired and then EA should acquire Take-Two. Rockstar/2Kgames should quit TakeTwo first so future GTA's will be safe. I shudder to think what EA will do with GTA... Yikes... we'll get crappy GTA's year after year with no improvements, loaded with ads, pricey subscription downloads etc. Look what they did to SimCity. !#@$%!#@ EA. The worst company on earth.

Avatar image for Cbordi

wawawawah!! who cares? I just want the game already ;D

Avatar image for IndoAssassin

The fact is GTA 4 is not going to give shareholders a 64% increase in stock price. EA makes smart corporate moves and to this day Take Two hasn't made a single one. Shareholders are now pissed at Take Two and are now showing it. EA knew this that is why they went public. So in the end Take Two gets screwed either way. There is a possiblity for Rockstar to go on their own but 2K Games is apart of the deal no matter what.

Avatar image for huddle1

In my opinion there are 2 reasons why Take Two did not sign. The first reason (obviously) is because they want to acquire more money for the higher ranked employees. The second reason is because they know GTA 4 is going to be HUGE. If you notice in a previous article, Take Two would look more into the deal on April 30th. The day after GTA 4 comes out. They have so much faith in GTA 4 they believe the offer should go up or they will get what they want at least. P.s. I will be 1 of those people buying it on April 29th!

Avatar image for etramleinad12

I say Rockstar Games and 2K Games break off and start a new company, then EA can buyout Take-Two without me complaining.

Avatar image for pidow

It is sad that the top gets paid and the bottom go further down. Sick.

Avatar image for lowkey254

If this is a sign of the end for Take-Two all I can say is that I'll miss 2k sports.

Avatar image for Hvac0120

The two biggest stockholders selling their stock means that there are more for EA to snatch up in a hostile takeover. This seems like a conspiracy with EA paying off these stockholders in order to gain heading on a hostile takeover.

Avatar image for p0rkp1e74

wow i thot this was supposed to be a section of news and comments on the Take-Two events.....not a bash GTA IV before it even comes out session

Avatar image for purple_T

"AVurst Grand Theft Auto IS A REALLY VIOLENT GAME OF STEALING CAR, GANG WAR AND GRAFFITI! " OMG... say it ain't so... it is the work of the devil aimed to tempt our youths brain into corruption and chaos... begone demon for we are sons of the light.... give me a break man... its a game. and its a ****ing good one too.

Avatar image for Avenger1324

Wow I bet those investors must be really pissed at what has happened. After all just the news of a possible takeover boosted their value by 50%. Now they have sold half their shares, they have the same value invested as they did 2 months ago, but have been able to free up a huge amount of cash. If I'd done that I would be laughing all the way to the bank. If they continued to hold the shares through to the end of April, they are unlikely to go up any further as they are already at the level of EA's previous offer.

Avatar image for JEANLUCKUGAR

at this point it seems like Grand Theft Auto IV will never come out.

Avatar image for AVurst


Avatar image for Ranma_X_basic

I personally Don't want EA buying out Take two. if they did it would only mean the end of all the 2K sports games (games i prefer over madden any day). also i'd be nervous cause then Fallout 3 will get delayed and i don't want that. EA is an evil company and the only games they make money from is mostly madden,Burnout,lord of the rings and whatever other movie franchises they have rights too. they aren't very original. But that's just my opinion!!!

Avatar image for ro-co-to

I would like EA to take over and dumbdown everything at that outfit. This could go on for years until they rae forced to break it up and then we'll see good games again. I would also like to see GTA4 getting delayed or put in publisher limbo because of this back and forth. It might bring out the otherwise stupor-induced masses of gamers out and make them protest on their feet.

Avatar image for markharris31

That lawsuit is perfectly valid. Take2 itself isn't anything special, business-wise. They just posted a loss... after selling over 2 million copies of Bioshock. Take2 has some great developers, but they are managed by children. It's not like Take2 is posting 10% year over year profit growth or anything akin to that, they're TANKING financially. If I was invested in a negative growth company, and they turned down a sell bid at a monstrous 64% premium, I would think they were irresponsible as well. Seriously, think about it, a 64% INSTANT return on investment... that's crazy high.

Avatar image for DFalcon999

(rant mode ON) I know EA is a corporation concerned only with money but... Don't they realize if they monopolize the gaming industry, they'll cause a second fall just like Atari did? When that happens, nobody profits. At all. We lose because our beloved hobby is dead, and it may not come back again, not unless Nintendo is prepared to revive the industry themselves again. They lose because their product will go unbought and they'll have to plug all their loses with their precious money. If that does happen, I hope all the money they've "earned" still isn't enough to cover their asses.

Avatar image for kuddles79

Are you knuckleheads even paying attenion to this information are are you just going "EA suxxors lol" like the mindless sheep you are? Take Two has been an awful, mismanaged company for years, they've been under investigation for corruption several times, and despite having so many profitable franchises they manage to be in debt constantly. They were on the brink of filing for bankruptcy, and would have if RockStar hadn't had the surprise massive bestseller in GTA 3. Read this article and you'll see nothing's changed. They didn't turn down EA's offer out of some idealistic goal of being "independent" and "creative". No, they don't give a damn about that. They were trying to score a sweeter deal for the useless fat cats at the top of Take Two to get even more extra money for themselves. Give me a break.

Avatar image for JamesHetfield89

This takeover seems like a foregone conclusion. They can't let live with Activision being bigger. It would certainly affect more niche RS franchises with limited audiences, like Bully or Manhunt. EA probably would rather not deal with the effort of those IPs. I seriously doubt they touch GTA though. GTA would be the biggest reason for the takeover, I don't think they would spend billions to acquire and ruin it. People are comparing their in house developed franchises like Need For Speed and Madden, when the more apt comparison should be to titles like Crysis, Spore and Battlefield. They won't be running and developing GTA, just like they don't with those titles. They will just own and develop it. Blizzard has been owned by the French version of EA forever, Vivendi Media. An equally hated compare overseas. It doesn't affect them. These developers tend to retain some autonomy.

Avatar image for gibson-les-rick

I swear to god NOTHING & I mean NOTHING better get in the way of gta4!It better not get delayed!!!

Avatar image for MC_Raptor

jivemaster too right.... EA tracks suck, they got no style, spit out games once a year, GTA:Underground, I can see it now... Gta:Revenge... GTA:This year it sucks more... If they do aquire take two, leave rockstar alone... maybe rockstar should become their own company!!!

Avatar image for harm0n1ca

If EA took these guys over, guaranteed within a year, and every year after until the franchise was sucked dry, there'd be a 'GTA:Urban' or something equally mind numbing. The excellent story telling and humour would be gone, and replaced with some generic feature that ruined each game. None of the games would feel complete.

Avatar image for jivemaster

All else aside, I just hope to god that they dont slap their horrid ea trax into the next gta.

Avatar image for WeMakinBacon

It seems highly unlikely that GTA IV would have EA on the box. Even if it did, it would still be the same game we've been expecting it to be. There's not much they could do differently for it with such a short time before release. If there were ever going to be an effect of this potential take over of a new publisher on the GTA series it would be with games released post buyout/takeover.

Avatar image for RazielTheCorpse

To me this seems like more evidence that GTAIV will be the best and last GTA we'll see. EA is determined to take Take2 and end up putting the entire company through the shredder and then there goes all our favourite games to be replaced with poor quality sequels that wouldn't be worth using as kindling. BUGGER OFF EA! Leave the greatness of Take2 alone!

Avatar image for BEGameAngel

Lets pray for GTA4 to save a great company like Take2 because the GTA franchise is the most beloved one for me, and the day that EA gets their hands on it it will be a very sad day... So everyone go out and buy GTA4! (unless it has the EA logo on the box)

Avatar image for VegetaMaelstrom

The truly sad thing about this EA takeover plan of Take-Two is that whatever happens, us gamers and Take-Two's superb developers won't have any say in the final outcome. The only ones who matter are Take-Two's shareholders. These people for the most part don't give a crap about the quality of games being made in their company's name, all they care about is increasing the company stock price so they can sell it higher than they purchased it for. They don't care if EA milks (or destroys) beloved franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock or Max Payne just to name a few. After they make out like bandits when EA buys their stock, these Wall Street preppies will just go on to the next vulnerable company trying to buy low and sell high. It isn't evil or wrong, just pure greed. Unfortunately it also happens to negatively affect a past time that we all care about. I fear it is only a matter of time now before Take-Two falls. I can grudgingly accept the fact that EA won't make an honest effort to significantly improve any of it's established yearly franchises based on it's track record of what they call "incremental innovations". I call them minor updates being sold at full price. How about the option for downloadable roster updates of last years Madden for $10? If it is good for the consumer it must be bad for EA. But I can accept that. What I refuse to accept is EA trying to snuff out any hint of true competition in the gaming industry. 2K Sports was standing up to Madden, time to buy out their ability to compete on a level playing field. 2K Sports is standing up to EA Sports in basketball and hockey so looks like it is time to buy them up and close them down. Make no mistake, EA almost certainly will cancel all formerly competing games from Take-Two to make their games the only one available. EA's CEO John Riccitiello has stated that it is getting harder for publishers and developers to make it out there in the gaming industry so getting acquired by an entity such as EA is a good move for most companies. My response to this nonsense is that competition isn't dying out, competition is being MURDERED by these morally bankrupt takeovers or acquisitions and by the companies that continuously use these strong-arm tactics. I'm done ranting for now. Hopefully some super rich gamer owns 51% of Take-Two's stock, otherwise (stockholder) greed will win again.

Avatar image for chikahiro94

@rez I wonder how many of those shareholders are responsible for retirement accounts (IRA's, 401k's, etc) and even scholarships or trusts that use the stock market to generate money? I'd sure be pissed if I found out one of the companies in my 401k portfolio basically sold me out so the executives could have their cushy bonuses.

Avatar image for erik_wolff

I honestly think I would've rather had a buggy but patched up version of GTA 4 back in October, just so the sales would've been high enough to keep EA from being able to buy T2. Here's hoping most of the guys at Rockstar and T2 leave and form a new company after EA buys T2.

Avatar image for zeak123

totally agree with you werc96 we desperately need the induvisual devolopers createing the great games that have come out now the only people making games are EA and Activision and THQ who really don't have and good games except for disney and nickolodeon games (talkin about THQ.)

Avatar image for rezonabi

The shareholders do not give a rat’s butt what the invested companies are making or doing. The shareholders are only interested in $$$ and numbers. EA offered a 64% premium to buy out Take2. If I am a shareholder, I would be pissed that my investment of so many millioooons did not grow by 64%. That is just business. I really doubt EA will change anything once Take2 is under its umbrella.

Avatar image for werc96

EA is the worst thing that can happen to ANY company. Grand theft auto 2009, 2010, 2011! Bioshock Tournament 2012! Max Payne Football 2k9! Utter crap would get pulled out every year. I know EA is TRYING to change the image they have...But its going to take YEARS to get back to what they had. take 2 doesnt need an image destroyed they just built from recent amazing/ different games, Im glad they think the rep is higher than 1 billion dollars, Because if EA buys you...save up that money.

Avatar image for StaticPlayer

Hey football fans, just like a bunch of nerds got all up in arms over monopolizing the program you use to type your essays, its time to sue EA for monopolizing the football franchise. Just how many more Maddens can we take every year with marginal benefits over the previous year? But we still buy into the hype, and do it anyway because its the most up to date one. Sad

Avatar image for gamer082009

I'm completely against an EA takeover of Take2 Interactive. Look at what they've done with the NFL license, madden has not improved at all since the aquisition. In fact it's just an updated roster each year it comes out. I really hope that this doesn't go EA's way. People should really take notice to what EA is doing..it's ashame that most gamers don't see that EA is trying to monopolize the gaming industry much like what Microsoft has done with their OS Windows XP. Take notice people..this is not a good thing for us gamers and that's more than likely why Take-Two declined the offer! We need a fair playing field that will have competitors..how do we benefit? It makes them work harder on their games to outperform the opposing company.

Avatar image for Kenaue

I wouldn't mind if EA wouldn't rehash everything every year. Oh, what's that? That's Madden 08...Oh really? It looks like 07 with a roster update and smoother graphics..

Avatar image for crunchb3rry

"Why EA is that big? Because people keep buying their annual games!" It doesn't help that they monopolize franchises. I think they've got the NFL until 2012 or something like that. That's why they are big. There's no other option. Microsoft gets all kinds of hell for monopolies, but EA has smooth sailing.

Avatar image for TheJGene

"a shareholder lawsuit was filed in a Delaware court that accused Take-Two of "breaches of fiduciary duty" by not discussing EA's offer" Right, so because a company backs away from a situation where they would be swallowed whole, the shareholders launch legal action because they won't make as much money. Pardon me for living in my own little fantasy world where games are made for the gamer and out of artistic and creative instinct rather than rampant greed, but that just stinks. I realise things must be done for a profit, I just wish it wasn't at the expense of everything else...

Avatar image for DFalcon999

Once upon a time, EA was a truly good Game Developer/Publisher that released great games. Now it is a corporate entity of the worst kind. If they get Take-Two and thus it's assets and links, things are going to get even darker for the American game industry. A Second Fall in the western Gaming Industry may very well happen all too soon now if things don't improve.

Avatar image for Sam_Lowery

EA is the worst thing that could happen to Take-Two. They care about nothing but making as much money as they can at any cost. Just look what they did with Burnout. They didn't put drivers in the cars just so they could get a E-10 rating. So now when you get a side view of your car driving down the street you can see that the vehicle is empty and it looks extremely stupid. I don't want these scumbags anywhere near GTA, Bioshock, or any other Take-Two property. If everybody that hates EA would throw in a dollar (EA's suckage is so well known people may only have to donate a dime) we could buy up all the shares of Take-Two and keep EA from ruining some of the best games around.

Avatar image for peeweeshift

shareholders should be prepared to be scared if they are bidding on a competitive company like take two

Avatar image for Suuji

After releasing BioShock and GTA, and even Civilization and the like, now Take-Two only worth two BioWares? I mean, if their rupee-collecting ability is that bad, shareholders would love to let someone else to take care of the financing, like EA. I'm not a EA fan...but uh...if you don't like the game, just don't buy it. Why EA is that big? Because people keep buying their annual games! If EA that bad, it's gone already.

Avatar image for Agreb91

EA better not take Take-Two over. It would ruin 2k!

Avatar image for quietguy

@ stillereize Obviously, your notions and judgement are "sterilized" themselves. And who said we buy the same stuff from EA over and over, Gamespot only represents maybe 4% of the US population (or world). (And he rides his "car" through the GS boards, which is his house) No doubt an EA takeover is immediate with Take-Two's financial woes; If not for the annual revenues, then maybe for the more widely known IP's.

Avatar image for ToxicMold

What people don't understand is that financially TakeTwo is a disaster. They are losing money hand over fist and more than likely would eventually go bankrupt without someone buying them out. Insiders on Wall Street think that EA is nuts for trying to buyout TakeTwo as they are a money losing debt machine. Interesting that nobody else is putting up a bid to challenge EA isn't it? TakeTwo is just trying to get more money but they know they need EA to save them from eventual bankruptcy.

Avatar image for Pete5506

GTA will save them