Take-Two Shareholders Slash Stock in Company

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The drama at Take-Two continues to mount as the company’s two biggest shareholders have slashed their holdings in the company.

Oppenheimer Funds, the largest single holders of Take-Two stock, cut its interest in the company in half, from 23 percent to 11.5 percent, representing 8.8 million shares. The second-largest investor in the company, FMR LLC, reduced its stock even more dramatically, from 14.7 percent to 2.75 percent.

The concern now is that the moves will undermine Take-Two’s postition that Electronic Arts’ buyout offer of $1.9 billion is too low. Industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan said, “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.”

Shareholders have also launched a lawsuit in Delaware against company management, claiming that its refusal to explore the offer but then subsequently arranging large payout packages for executives if the company is taken over amounts to “breaches of fiduciary duty.”

Company chairman Strauss Zelnick recently said he believes Take-Two has a “really bright future as an independent company,” but added that he was willing to engage in further negotiations with EA following the release of Grand Theft Auto IV in April.

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