The price is down 4% to $16.26 in mid-day trading after the gamemaker reported the deal to pay the activist investor $16.93 a share for his 12.02M shares — bringing the total number of Take-Two Interactive shares outstanding down to 81M. CEO Strauss Zelnick says that the agreement “reflects our confidence in the Company’s outlook for record results” in the current fiscal year, and leaves Take-Two with enough cash “to pursue a variety of investment opportunities, including repurchasing our Company’s stock.” But some may wonder whether Carl Icahn‘s exiting because he senses that things have peaked for the company behind titles including Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands, and Duke Nukem. Shares are up 31% over the last 12 months but have slipped about 14% since late August. Cowen and Co analyst Doug Creutz downgraded Take-Two to “market perform” last week saying that every major title the company has shipped in recent years “has been delayed at least once, sometimes for multiple years.” It also faces “a significantly uphill battle next year against a crowded industry release slate” which includes Titanfall, Destiny, Call Of Duty, Halo, and Assassin’s Creed. Take-Two’s deal with Icahn is an addition to its stock repurchase plan; the board has authorized a buyback of 7.5M shares, and has already purchased 4.2M of the total. With Icahn no longer a major shareholder, his designated board members — Brett Icahn, Jim Nelson, and SungHwan Cho — resigned, reducing the number of directors to five. Icahn began buying Take-Two in 2006 and increased his holdings in 2009.
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