Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is an American multinational publisher and distributor of video games and video game peripherals. Take-Two wholly owns publishers Rockstar Games and 2K Games. The company's headquarters are in New York City, with international headquarters in Windsor, United Kingdom. Development studio locations include San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto and Novato, California. Notable game series published by Take-Two include Grand Theft Auto, Civilization, NBA 2K, BioShock and Borderlands. As owner of 2K Games, Take-Two publishes its 2K Sports titles, and creates free-to-play mobile titles through Social Point. It also acted as the publisher of Bethesda Softworks's 2006 game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. As of September 2017, it is the third largest publicly-traded game company (after Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts) in the Americas and Europe.
Take-Two was founded in September 1993 by Ryan Brant, the son of Peter Brant, newsprint heir and co-owner of Interview. In April 1997 it became a publicly-traded company with it stock listed on the NASDAQ as "TTWO". In March 1998, Take-Two acquired BMG Interactive Entertainment, the video game publishing division of BMG Entertainment, from Bertelsmann, for approximately US$14.2 million. Take 2 published a game called Rats! in 1998, developed by Tarantula Studios. Later BMG Interactive was re-formed into Rockstar Games in late 1998.
In February 1999, Take-Two published the game Biosys through the company Jumpstart Interactive. The game is a point-and-click adventure which follows protagonist Professor Alan Russell. It is set inside the fictional ecological facility, Biosphere Four. In July 1999, Take-Two published Hidden & Dangerous, one of the pioneering tactical first/third person shooters, and its follow-up Hidden & Dangerous 2 in 2003.
In 2004, Take-Two paid US$22.3 million to Infogrames for the rights to the Civilization series.
In 2005, Take-Two began a host of acquisitions, spending more than US$80 million buying game developers. It bought for US$32 million the development studios Visual Concepts and Kush Games, for US$11.4 million Gaia Capital Group and for around US$11.8 million the studio Irrational Games, which developed Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich. Take-Two formed the publishing companies 2K Games and 2K Sports to manage a group of newly acquired development studios, and publishing deals with a variety of other well known studios. As part of the creation of 2K Sports, Take-Two acquired from Sega the rights to the ESPN 2K sports games created by Visual Concepts (football and basketball) and Kush Games (baseball and hockey); when announced, Take-Two renamed the franchise to omit "ESPN" from the titles. Then in November, Take-Two acquired Firaxis for US$27 million including possible performance bonuses.
In February 2007 Ryan Brant pleaded guilty to falsifying business records. He faced up to four years in prison and received a lighter sentence by agreeing to cooperate in a plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. The charges stemmed from 2005 when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a lawsuit that Brant, the company's head of sales Robert Blau, and its former chief financial officers Larry Mueller and James David Jr., inflated revenue in fiscal years 2000 and 2001.
At the annual meeting in March 29, 2007, ZelnickMedia staged a takeover of the company together with some of Take-Two Interactive's largest investors. That is, Take-Two investors ousted five of six board members. The investors (three hedge funds and one mutual fund, including Oppenheimer Funds and DE Shaw Valence Portfolios) controlled 46% of the stock. As of July 2015, Strauss Zelnick is the single largest shareholder by voting power.
In March 2007, Take-Two filed a lawsuit against Jack Thompson, to prevent him from filing a public nuisance complaint in Florida court as he did with Bully.
On May 22, 2007, Oasys Mobile signed a deal to bring several of the Sid Meier licenses to the mobile market. The original Sid Meier games are developed by Take-Two's company Firaxis Games. Oasys was to bring these games to the mobile market some time in 2008.
In mid-February 2008, rival game company Electronic Arts (EA) made a US$25-per-share all-cash transaction offer worth around US$2 billion to the board of Take-Two, subsequently revising it to US$26 per share after being rejected and making the offer known to the public. Rumors of a buyout had been floating around the internet several weeks prior. Stocks went up by 54% on Monday, following the Sunday announcement, closing over the US$26 offer price, whilst EA's own stock prices went down by 5%, the largest loss in over a year.
According to the April 2008 issue of Game Informer, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that EA considered a deal for Take-Two in the previous spring but axed it at the last minute. Take-Two's board of directors declined the cash deal. However, EA was still pursuing the acquisition of Take-Two, stating in a letter, "If you are unwilling to proceed on that basis, however, we may pursue other means, including the public disclosure of this letter, to bring our offer and the compelling value it represents to the attentions of Take-Two's shareholders." Later, Take-Two released a statement explaining why the company has rejected the offer, "In addition to undervaluing key elements of our business, EA's proposal fails to recognize the value we are building through our ongoing turnaround efforts, which will further revitalize Take-Two."
Take-Two offered to discuss the offer after Grand Theft Auto IV’s release on April 29, 2008. An acquisition would have ended EA's main competition in sports video games. The bid expired May 15, 2008, however EA extended the offer until June 16, 2008, at the same price of US$25.74 per share. Take-Two's position did not change and on September 14, 2008, EA announced that they decided to let the US$2 billion offer to buy Take-Two expire.
On September 8, 2008, they entered into an outsourcing agreement with Ditan Distribution LLC. Ditan assumes the responsibility for the pick, pack, ship and warehousing functions for Take-Two's publishing and distribution businesses previously handled by Take-Two's Jack of All Games subsidiary. The agreement allows Jack of All Games to primarily sell third-party products, to focus on purchasing, sales and service for their customers. In September 2009, following a lawsuit, Take-Two Interactive were forced to pay a US$20 million settlement for an inclusion of a sex mini-game that was included in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. On December 21, 2009, they sold Jack of All Games to SYNNEX Corporation. In May 2007, the UFC filed a lawsuit against the company over the video game they created for the organization. In 2010, Ben Feder stepped down as CEO, and was replaced by executive chairman Strauss Zelnick.
In January 2013, while being dissolved, THQ sold the rights of the WWE wrestling games series to Take-Two.
In March 2013, Karl Slatoff, chief operating officer of Take-Two Interactive, revealed that the company has an "extensive pipeline of unannounced titles in development," along with the announced Grand Theft Auto V and Agent games in development. While he did not share any further information regarding the game, he did mention that the Bully, Red Dead, Bioshock, Mafia, Borderlands, L.A. Noire and Max Payne franchises as being important to the company.
In November 2013, the company buys back activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn's 11% stake at a value worth $203.5 million
On December 2013, former Marvel editor-in-chief Bill Jemas announced that he had joined Take-Two to start a "graphic fiction imprint".
On February 1, 2017, the company acquired social and mobile game developer Social Point to enter into the mobile gaming industry.
On May 31, 2017, Take-Two Interactive acquired Kerbal Space Program.
On June 14, 2017, Take-Two Interactive sent a cease and desist letter to .black, the developers of OpenIV, a program which assists user in installing modifications for various Rocktar Games titles, such as Grand Theft Auto V, Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV, that has been in development since 2008. The notice ultimately forced them to discontinue their program or await further action, with Take-Two Interactive reasoning that OpenIV allowed "third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two's rights". Shortly afterwards, though, Take-Two received a lot of negative backlash due to the cease and desist, causing them to retract the letter, and allow OpenIV's developers to continue.
The company currently have a minority investment in mobile-game developer Scopely