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Take-Two: Analysts' Estimates Too High

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) warned Thursday that its bottom line for its fiscal third and fourth quarters will likely fall short of analysts' targets.

Because of its ongoing probe into its past stock-options grants, Take-Two gave scant details on its performance in its third quarter, which ended July 31. But what it did say wasn't terribly encouraging.

Not only did the company forecast disappointing earnings, but it also slightly missed analysts' revenue targets for the third quarter and is again delaying a title from its Rockstar studio, which will affect fourth-quarter sales.

What's more, the company warned that it has been hit with grand jury subpoenas related to its past options practices, and that it doesn't expect to file its quarterly report in time to meet regulatory requirements.

"While the Company is addressing various regulatory matters, we continue to focus on creating content to well position ourselves for the improved industry conditions we anticipate in 2007," Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler said in a statement.

But investors weren't buying Eibeler's optimism. In after-hours trading, shares of Take-Two were off 84 cents, or 7%, to $11.35.

In the third quarter, Take-Two posted about $240 million in sales, up 41% from the same period last year. But sales last year were held down in part by the company's recall of its flagship title Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, after the discovery of explicit sex scenes within the game that could be accessed with a downloadable program.

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