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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 09:53 GMT
Coup at Grand Theft Auto company
Canis Canem Edit
Bully, set in a US private school, was controversial
Investors in the publisher of computer game Grand Theft Auto have unveiled plans to take control of the board.

Shares in Take-Two Interactive Software jumped 18% as news of the management coup was unveiled.

The company has been under fire for a string of financial irregularities - from overstated profits to illegally backdated stock options.

Many shops withdrew Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas after undisclosed explicit sex scenes were included.

The graphic images could be accessed using a software patch created by a fan of the game.

Another game, Bully - released in the UK under the title Canis Canem Edit - was criticised for its portrayal of school-based violence, though a US judge rejected attempts to ban it.

'Long overdue'

The investors own 46% of Take-Two and have said they will try to install Strauss Zelnick, the ex-chief executive of BMG Entertainment - which sold its own gaming arm to Take-Two in 1998 - as non-executive chairman.

They will also aim to oust chief executive Paul Eibeler and review the position of chief financial officer, Karl Winters, documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission said.

A Take-Two spokesman would not comment on the move.

The change in management would be "a positive for the company, assuming key development personnel are retained", said JP Morgan analyst Dean Gianoukos, while Elizabeth Osur of Citigroup said the move was "long overdue".

However, Arvind Bhatia of Sterne, Agee & Leach warned Take-Two's problems could not be solved "overnight".

Last month, former Take-Two chief executive Ryan Brant was the first top boss to be convicted of backdating stock options to increase their worth.




SEE ALSO
Judge clears Bully game release
16 Oct 06 |  Technology
Shareholders to sue over GTA sex
16 Feb 06 |  Technology
Uproar grows over GTA sex scenes
26 Jul 05 |  Technology
GTA sex scandal hits Australia
29 Jul 05 |  Technology
Sex controversy over GTA game
11 Jul 05 |  Technology
'Bully' game targeted in the US
13 Oct 06 |  Technology

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