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Take Two Developing New 'Civilizations' Title

by Rainier on March 1, 2007 @ 12:57 a.m. PST

After several preliminary financials statements, due to the internal backdating investigation, Take Two has finally released a final 2006 statement. Overall revenue is slightly down, and last year it recorded a loss, compared to a small profit the year prior. Most interesting is the mention of a new installment in Sid Meier's Civilization strategy franchise, scheduled for fiscal 2008, which means no earlier than Nov. 1st, 2007.

Net revenue for fiscal 2006 was $1.038 billion compared to $1.201 billion in fiscal 2005, which included significant sales of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Net loss for the year was $184.9 million or $2.60 per share compared to net income of $35.3 million or $0.50 per share in 2005. The fiscal 2006 results include a non-cash charge of $63.5 million, or $0.89 per share, primarily incurred during the third quarter to record valuation allowances for deferred tax assets required under Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 109.

Take-Two's fiscal 2006 results were adversely impacted by the video game industry's transition from current generation to next-generation platforms, which involved delays in the availability and consumer acceptance of certain next-generation hardware and lower average selling prices of the Company's software for current generation systems. Additionally, fiscal 2006 performance reflected higher development costs for Take-Two's next-generation titles and the Company's continued investment in building its sports business. While costly in the short term, these strategic initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on the Company's fiscal 2007 results and beyond as consumers increasingly transition to next-generation platforms.

In addition to the $63.5 million charge to record the valuation allowance, Take-Two's results for fiscal 2006 reflected the following pre-tax expense items: $26.4 million related to cost saving initiatives, including the closure of three development studios in the second and third quarters, resulting in severance charges, lease terminations and asset write-offs; $12.1 million in stock-based compensation as required by SFAS 123; $8.1 million for the impairment of goodwill and fixed assets at the Company's Joytech subsidiary; $6.9 million for legal and other professional fees associated with the investigation of stock option grants and the Company's responses to the New York County District Attorney's subpoenas; $4.6 million for intangible asset write-offs; $2.3 million for the relocation of the Company's international publishing headquarters to Geneva; and $1.4 million in stock-based compensation from the re-measurement of certain restricted stock awards issued between May 2002 and June 2006. Approximately $110.7 million of the $125.3 million charges in fiscal 2006 were non-cash items.

Net revenue for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2006 was $266.6 million compared to $306.8 million for the same period a year ago. Net loss for the quarter was $14.0 million or $0.20 per share compared to net income of $18.9 million or $0.27 per share in the 2005 fourth quarter. The fourth quarter 2006 loss includes $5.5 million for legal and other professional fees associated with the investigation of stock option grants and the Company's responses to the New York County District Attorney's subpoenas; a non-cash charge of $4.0 million to record valuation allowances for deferred tax assets; $2.6 million in stock-based compensation as required by SFAS 123; $1.4 million for Geneva relocation expenses; and $1.2 million for asset write-offs and studio closure expenses. Approximately $7.4 million of the $14.7 million charges in the fourth quarter were non-cash items.

Net revenue for the third quarter ended July 31, 2006 was $241.2 million compared to $169.9 million for the prior year period. Net loss for the third quarter was $91.4 million or $1.29 per share compared to a net loss of $29.0 million or $0.41 per share in the 2005 third quarter. The third quarter 2006 loss includes a non-cash charge of $59.5 million to record valuation allowances for deferred tax assets; $8.5 million for the impairment of goodwill and other assets, primarily at the Company's Joytech subsidiary; $3.9 million for studio closure expenses and asset write offs; $2.6 million in stock-based compensation as required by SFAS 123; $1.4 million for legal and other professional fees associated with the investigation of stock option grants and the Company's responses to the New York County District Attorney's subpoenas; $1.2 million in stock-based compensation expense resulting from the re-measurement of certain restricted stock awards; and $0.9 million for Geneva relocation expenses. Approximately $72.7 million of the $78.0 million charges in the third quarter were non-cash items.

In 2006, Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PS2, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for the PSP, Bully for PlayStation 2 (Canis Canem Edit in Europe) and Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. 2K and 2K Sports released numerous titles across multiple platforms during the year, including The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion™, Prey, Major League Baseball 2K6, NBA 2K7, NHL 2K7, College Hoops 2K6, 24: The Game, Top Spin 2, Civilization IV: Warlords, The Da Vinci Code and Family Guy. In 2006, Take-Two renewed its multi-year license for National Hockey League (NHL) games.

During 2006, Take-Two focused significant development efforts on titles launched for the PSP system and Xbox 360 although sales of these next-generation titles significantly lagged sales of PlayStation 2 titles. Additionally, while 2K Sports expanded its portfolio and captured an increased share of the sports market, the install base of next-generation hardware was not yet sufficient to support the development and licensing costs of the sports business. Take-Two is confident that its strategic decision to invest significantly in both next-gen development and the sports business will prove beneficial as the install base of new platforms grows and consumers continue to shift their purchases toward software for these systems.

For 2007, Rockstar Games has released The Warriors, based on the Paramount Pictures film, for the PSP system and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the PlayStation 2 in Japan in an arrangement with Capcom Co., Ltd. Rockstar will ship Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for PlayStation 2 in March; and Manhunt 2 for the PlayStation 2, PSP system, and Nintendo's Wii™ this summer. Grand Theft Auto IV, the next-generation console debut of the genre-defining franchise, will be shipped simultaneously for the Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION3 in October. Starting in 2008, Rockstar will introduce exclusive episodic content downloads for Grand Theft Auto IV. Rockstar will also release new titles based on its proprietary brands, including L.A. Noire developed by Team Bondi.

2K and 2K Sports have released Major League Baseball 2K7 for multiple current and next-generation platforms; NBA 2K7 and NHL 2K7 for PLAYSTATION 3; College Hoops 2K7 for Xbox 360, Xbox and PlayStation 2; Sid Meier's Pirates! for the PSP system; Ghost Rider for PlayStation 2, PSP system and Game Boy Advance, based on the Marvel comic book franchise and Columbia Pictures film; and Jade Empire: Special Edition for PC, co-published with BioWare.

For the remainder of fiscal 2007, 2K and 2K Sports are expected to release a variety of titles across multiple platforms, including BioShock for Xbox 360 and Games for Windows; The BIGS, an arcade style Major League Baseball title on multiple current and next-generation platforms including Wii; College Hoops 2K7 for PLAYSTATION 3; The Darkness, based on the comic of the same name published by Top Cow Publishing and created by Marc Silvestri and Paul Jenkins for next-generation consoles; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, based on the upcoming movie from Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel Studios, for multiple current and next-generation platforms, including Wii; The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles expansion pack for PC; All Pro Football 2K8 for next-generation consoles; as well as NHL 2K8 and NBA 2K8 across multiple current and next-generation platforms. In addition to the licensed 2K Sports lineup, starting in 2008, 2K will have new content based on its Civilization franchise and other products, including both original intellectual property and third-party titles.

Global Star Software is expected to publish a PC extension of its popular Deal or No Deal game and will continue its focus on video games incorporating popular licensed and children's entertainment properties, with several titles planned for Wii later this year.

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