Take-Two Takeover Trouble Looming?

Publisher Take-Two Interactive has for years been beset by allegations of various financial misdoings, while also recently coming under heavy public fire for the infamous Hot Coffee mod issue surrounding Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Shareholders have long expressed frustration with company management and, according to CNN/Money's Chris Morris, a group of shareholders representing 46% of company ownership plan to take over the board during the company's annual shareholder meeting on March 23. Citing comments made by unidentified game industry professionals, Morris claims that many close to the company expect the action to succeed.

Among the goals of the group is apparently to eject current Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler. Beyond that, potential action is unclear, but speculation includes such drastic measures as a sale of the company or an unloading of certain assets. Major publishers such as Ubisoft and Activision have been named as potential suitors, along with venture capital firm Elevation Partners and media conglomerate News Corp. First party console manufacturers would be exceedingly unlikely buyers, as the number of resources currently invested in multiplatform development at Take-Two would result in a massively inefficient acquisition process for a company dedicated solely to development on one platform.

Take-Two does have a broad stable of internal development studios, including Firaxis, Irrational Games, and Visual Concepts, as well as distributor Jack of All Games and budget label Global Star Software, any of which could potentially be sold off in order to pare down the company. Rockstar Games and its bestselling Grand Theft Auto brand, long the star performers for Take-Two, are less likely to be shed if the parent company itself is not sold.