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Take-Two Cuts Staff, But  'No Studio Layoffs'

Take-Two Cuts Staff, But 'No Studio Layoffs' Exclusive

February 3, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander




Publisher Take-Two (Grand Theft Auto IV, Bioshock 2) has rebutted "erroneous" media reports about a new restructuring, confirming publishing layoffs, but claiming "there were no reductions made at the studio level."

Responding to media reports that said up to 400 employees, or 20 percent of the workforce could be made redundant, Take Two corporate communications VP Alan Lewis tells Gamasutra that restructuring and layoffs are taking place, but they are occurring solely at the corporate level.

"While it is our policy not to comment on rumors and speculation, we wanted to clarify an erroneous report regarding our company," Lewis says. "As part of Take-Two's stated goal to maximize the efficiency of our business, we initiated a targeted restructuring of our corporate departments only in order to better align our resources with our current goals."

Due to what board chairman Strauss Zelnick called a "very difficult economic environment", Take-Two posted a $137.9 million GAAP net loss in 2009.

Shortly thereafter, firebrand activist investor Carl Icahn boosted his stake in the publisher and chose new nominees for its board, and is widely believed to be pushing for changes in the company's management strategies.

Lewis also points out that some of the restructuring is associated with "the pending sale of our Jack of All Games distribution business." Take-Two said late in December 2009 it would sell that business to software and services distributor Synnex, in a deal valued at $43.25 million -- but which would ultimately result in a "small" after-tax loss for the company.

"To be clear, there were no reductions made at the studio level," Lewis concludes, indicating that development resources at the publisher have stayed untouched.


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