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Take-Two Extends Deal With Key Rockstar Talent, Reports Fiscal Growth

Take-Two Extends Deal With Key Rockstar Talent, Reports Fiscal Growth

May 24, 2011 | By Kris Graft




Key developer and management talent will be sticking with Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two for a few more years, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Take-Two said it extended its long-term employment agreements with Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies, the key members of the creative team at Rockstar Games, the label worn by hit games such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire.

And Take-Two said it wouldn't be paying the team members an outrageous increase in order to keep them on board, stating the renewed agreement is on "substantially similar economic terms" compared to the previous deal.

The publisher also said it entered into a new management agreement with CEO Strauss Zelnick's company ZelnickMedia, which will continue to lead the publisher through May 31, 2015.

Included in the management agreement is Zelnick himself, CFO Karl Slatoff, an unnamed "employee of ZelnickMedia" as VP and "other" ZelnickMedia personnel who are needed on a case-by case basis. The management agreement is still subject to stockholder approval at Take-Two's 2011 annual meeting.

Zelnick and his colleagues led an ousting of former Take-Two management in 2007, and have since turned the company around into a business with seemingly sustainable profits, without relying on a major Grand Theft Auto release every year.

The management agreement, upon approval, will authorize Take-Two to pay ZelnickMedia a monthly management fee of $208,333 per month that is subject to a 3 percent annual increase, the same rate as the previous deal, according to a regulatory filing.

Annual management bonuses as high as $3.5 million are also up for grabs over the course of the agreement, provided certain performance metrics are met by management. Bonuses are also subject to 3 percent annual increases.

The publisher reported today that for the 12 months ended March 31, Take-Two generated revenues of $1.14 billion, up 49 percent year-on-year. Profits were up to $53.8 million, up from a loss of $108.1 million a year prior.

Revenues for the fiscal fourth quarter alone were $182.3 million, down from $233.2 million year-on-year. Losses for the quarter hit $22.4 million, an increase in losses from the $9.7 million loss for the same quarter a year ago.

The top titles for the publisher during the quarter were NBA 2K11, Top Spin 4, Major League Baseball 2K11, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete and the standalone disc of Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. Digitally-delivered titles accounted for 15 percent of the publisher's revenues during the quarter.

For the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, Take-Two expects revenues of $1 to $1.1 billion, and non-GAAP earnings per share between 10-35 cents.

CEO Zelnick stated, "Fiscal 2011 was a very strong year for Take-Two. We generated revenue growth and margin expansion that consistently exceeded expectations, and also took action to position the company for even greater success over the long-term."


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