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Take-Two Says SEC Probing Stock Options

From Reuters

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., owner of the blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto” video game series, said Monday that regulators had launched an informal investigation into its stock option policies dating to 1997.

Take-Two shares fell 76 cents to $9.34.

Take-Two’s disclosure of the Securities and Exchange Commission probe came on the same day that Web-based media company CNET Networks Inc. said it probably would restate results to correct errors related to its stock-option accounting.

Both Take-Two and CNET had previously launched internal investigations into the issue, which has shaken the technology sector.

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Federal prosecutors, the SEC and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating dozens of companies for possible manipulation of the grant dates and exercise prices of stock options to boost their value to the executives who received them.

At CNET, the company said it reached a preliminary finding that the actual dates for some stock options granted between 1998 and 2001 differ from the recorded dates.

The company said it would record noncash charges for some periods as a result, which could reduce earnings. It said it now expected to restate statements for 2003, 2004 and 2005 and possibly earlier years.

CNET shares rose 24 cents to $7.83.

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