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Take-Two Finds 'Significant' Backdating, More NASDAQ Issues

Officials from publisher Take-Two have confirmed 'significant' options backdating issues from 1997-2003, though no current execs were involved, and has received another letter from the NASDAQ stock market warning over possible delisting.
Official from major publisher Take-Two have announced results of its report into its stock option investigations today, with the findings being consistent with the preliminary results reported last December. The earlier report described "improprieties in the process of granting and documenting stock options, and that incorrect measurement dates for certain stock option grants were used for financial accounting purposes", although Take-Two claims to have discovered no account of misconduct by top executives. However, former exec Ryan Brant, who resigned completely in October 2006 after a period of disability leave, following a separate SEC investigation over inflated revenues, was named as one of the figures who went on "control and dominate the granting process" regarding options. As a result of the report, the company plans to restate multiple financial statements from April 1997 to August 2003, and is currently reviewing the report to determine the tax and accounting impact on the company's financial statements. (An Associated Press report has noted more than 60 different companies currently being investigated by the SEC over stock option irregularities, in particular the practice of “backdating” stock option grants to time them at share price lows, thus increasing their sale price value.) In related news, the company confirmed that it has received another letter from the NASDAQ stock market, warning that the company’s failure to file its 10-K financial specifics for the fiscal year has once again put it in danger of being delisted. The company has twice since received warnings from the NASDAQ concerning late filings of its third quarter financial results – a delay blamed at the time on the company’s internal review into irregularities in stock option grants. The new warning over the company’s full year results asks that Take-Two respond to the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel by Thursday of this week. However, Take-Two reps have indicated that the company has been granted a request to continue its listing on the NASDAQ on the understanding that the company files all outstanding documents by March 19th, that it holds a combined 2005 and 2006 annual meeting of stockholders before March 27th and that it provides the NASDAQ Panel with further information regarding its stock option grants investigation.

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