Ryan Brant, ex-CEO of Take-Two, pleads guilty and settles options backdating cases.
Less than a month after an investigative committee uncovered problems with the company’s stock option grants, Take-Two Interactive’s ex-Chairman and CEO has pleaded guilty to two cases of options backdating and falsifying accounting records.
Brant agreed to pay $7.3 million to settle with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the state of New York, who will receive $1 million, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, who will collect the remaining $6.3 million. As part of the plea bargain, Brant will be permanently banned from holding a major position at a public company.
“I am deeply sorry for my role in the inappropriate manner Take-Two granted incentive stock options. … I accept responsibility for my actions, and apologize to the company’s shareholders,” commented Brant in a statement.
Take-Two stated: “In addition, the compensation committee abdicated its option-granting responsibilities and permitted the company’s prior chief executive officer, Ryan Brant, to control and dominate the granting process.”
The stock price of Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) has remained relatively unharmed by the antics of its ex-executive. Shares closed at $20.97, up 8.32 percent for the day, showing that Wall Street is more excited than anything else that the financial antics are finally finished.