In amazing news breaking this morning, it transpires that a senior financial analyst has called for the resignation of Take 2 chairman Ryan Brant.
The analyst in question is respected Bank of America Securities analyst Gary Cooper, who has shocked the world by pointing out accounting ‘struggles’ and share sales pattern irregularities.
In his regular research note, Cooper said, “…given the uneven performance of the business and the continuing legal and accounting struggles, we believe Take 2's board of directors should seek new leadership at the highest level, the chairman.”
Of course, this is not the first time Take 2’s financial wranglings have come under pressure from external forces. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the firm’s practices and there has been disquiet from the investment sector for some time… The SEC has stated that several employees, including chairman Brant, may face personal civil action, with some speculating that criminal action may follow.
Cooper continues: “…a settlement with the SEC and the replacement of the company's chairman would signal a new direction for the company and likely lead to a higher (price-to-earnings) multiple. The one constant through Take 2's years of accounting irregularities, SEC investigations, and dubious operating decisions (e.g., acquisition of TDK without the Shrek 2 license) has been chairman Ryan Brant,” he concludes, a damning statement.
Many of the issues surrounding Take 2’s financial propriety struggles stem from the skyrocket evolution the company has achieved in the past two years. Before the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, the vultures were circling the company in earnest. “They [Take 2] were looking at two months at the most before the whole thing turned belly-up,” one senior industry figure told us anonymously. “As with any small company with problems in the games industry, arguably, Take 2 had a ‘we must survive whatever’ attitude. Perhaps that attitude has not been adequately updated to mirror the firm’s recent successes.”
At the time of going to press, no official comment from Take 2 has been forthcoming and to be frank, one is not really expected. Bank of America analysts carry a significant amount of weight amongst corporate investors and other analysts in the financial and investment industries. We should find out by the end of next week whether Brant stays or goes.