GamesBeat

GTA V publisher gives corporate raider Carl Icahn truckloads of cash to go away

Above: Grand Theft Auto V is part the reason Take-Two is so confident in its future.

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Publisher Take-Two wants to wrangle up as many of its own shares as it can. As part of that process, the company announced a major stock repurchase that it completed this morning with Icahn Group.

Carl Icahn giving the universal facial expression for "trying too hard to be cool."

Above: Carl Icahn giving the universal facial expression for “trying too hard to be cool.”

Take-Two revealed that it acquired 12.02 million shares previously held by Carl Icahn’s investment firm. The Grand Theft Auto V publisher bought the stock at yesterday’s closing price of $16.93. The deal will cost Take-Two $203.5 million.

“This share repurchase reflects our confidence in the company’s outlook for record results in fiscal 2014 and continued non-GAAP [generally accepted accounting practices] profitability every year for the foreseeable future,” Take-Two chief executive Strauss Zelnick said in a statement. “With our ample cash and strong expected cash flow, we are able to pursue a variety of investment opportunities, including repurchasing our company’s stock.”

As a result of this deal, Icahn will no longer hold any stake in Take-Two, and Icahn’s representatives on Take-Two’s board — Brett Icahn, Jim Nelson, and SungHwan Cho — will step down from their positions atop the publisher’s organization.

“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,” said Zelnick. “They leave Take-Two better positioned than ever for continued success.”

Take-Two conducted this deal outside of its previously announced program to repurchase 7.5 million shares. The publisher has already bought 4.2 million of its own stock under that directive at an average price of $17.38. It is buying back stock across the board to gain more control over its future.

Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto V debuted in September to massive sales. The company revealed that it sold 29 million copies of the game to retailers in just a matter of weeks worldwide. As part of GTA V’s success, Take-Two announced $1.27 billion in revenue for its most recent fiscal quarter.

Carl Icahn originally purchased Take-Two stock in 2006. In 2009, he increased his stake in the company to 11.3 percent, which sparked speculation that the company was a target for a takeover. That never materialized. Now, with GTA V’s success, Icahn is likely happy to take his money and walk away from the publisher.

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Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, marketer and publisher of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Ga... read more »

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