Ahead of the Bell: Take-Two shares jump

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2009 9:02 AM

Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. advanced ahead of regular trading Friday after activist investor Carl Icahn reported buying up a stake of more than 11 percent in the video game maker.

The company, which makes the popular "Grand Theft Auto" series, also reported quarterly results late Thursday that matched lowered expectations.

Shares jumped 90 cents, or 11 percent, to $9.15 in premarket trading.

According to a securities filing, Icahn now owns an 11.3 percent stake in Take-Two. He has paid about $70.6 million for 9.16 million shares, including 783,479 call options.

In the filing, Icahn said the company's stock is undervalued and that he may seek talks with management.

Take-Two, which is based in New York, also reported a $22 million loss as climbing expenses outpaced a 6 percent uptick in sales. However, on an adjusted basis, excluding special charges, the company would have earned 9 cents per share. That met the average forecast from analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.

In a note to investors, Kaufman Bros. analyst Todd Mitchell upgraded the company to "Hold" from "Sell."

Take-Two signaled nothing that "would cause us to change our outlook fundamentally," he said, but the share price has come down far enough to warrant the upgrade.

Take-Two shares closed in regular trading Thursday at $8.25, down about 24 percent since the company slashed its forecast for the quarter earlier in the month. It blamed weak sales of its "Major League Baseball" titles.