Apparently, Take-Two Interactive
Investors knew something unpleasant was going down last week when Take-Two failed to file its fiscal 2003 results by Thursday's deadline. The SEC was already looking into the company's revenue recognition practices, so nails were being nibbled as folks counted down the final 90 days to the filing deadline.
Take-Two posted its fourth-quarter results back in December, but also lowered its projections for fiscal 2004. On Friday, the company filed the required extension with the SEC, granting it another two weeks to remedy its accounting oversights. While the restatements will be broad, as management revisits its numbers all the way back to fiscal 1999, the actual bottom-line implications appear to be minor.
The expected fiscal 2002 and 2003 revisions were released in a 12b-25 filing, and the impact on net sales and earnings won't amount to much. They will vary by no more than 2% from its original reports -- higher in 2002 and lower in 2003.
The larger problem here is management's tendency to apply the rules-be-darned mentality that works so well in its popular Grand Theft Auto game to its operations. A restatement is always a red flag, but two? That's a burning red flag.
It's a shame because Take-Two is a force catering to bloodthirsty, diehard video gamers. While a study by industry researcher NPD Group showed that mature-rated games took a dip in sales last year relative to tamer titles, Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto franchise was the standout in the crowd.
In Take-Two's poorly receivedState of Emergency, players are encouraged to beat up on corporate executives. Maybe that release was ahead of its time -- before it became fashionable to bash greedy executives like those at Tyco
Of course, all trashing should be verbal and respectful. After all, someone has to set the example and play by the rules.
Are you worried about Take-Two's accounting? What's up with the NPD Group study that found M-rated games falling from 13.2% of all games sold in 2002 to only 11.9% last year? Is the trend moving away from adult-oriented video games? All this and more -- in the Video & PC Games discussion board. Only on Fool.com.