Atari's ( ATAR) days on the Nasdaq market may be numbered. The besieged video-game software maker warned investors on Thursday that it has received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq, because its stock price no longer meets the market's minimum bid price. The company, which is majority owned by France-based Infogrames, now has 180 days to boost its stock above minimum price levels before the Nasdaq will move to drop the stock from its national market listings. Atari's shares have consistently traded for less than $1 a share since late January, prompting the notice. In a statement, the company called the alert from Nasdaq "expected." The company plans to focus on improving its operating performance in an effort to boost its stock price, company spokesman Ryan Barr said. Atari has already announced plans to divest some of its development studios as part of that effort. The company also plans to focus on online gaming in its next-generation game consoles, an area that it thinks could see big sales growth, Barr said. "These things should return shareholder value and will be reflected in the value of the company," he said. However, Barr acknowledged that "it comes down to executing." Delisting can be a painful, if not fatal, blow for a public company and its investors. Many investors are hesitant to trade stocks not listed on the main national markets, which can impact a company's stock price and the ability of investors to sell shares. Those factors can also make it difficult for such companies to raise additional capital. During the dot-com bust earlier this decade, dozens of companies in similar straits as Atari received delisting notices from either the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange. To get back into compliance, some of those companies resorted to desperate measures, such as reverse stock splits, which attempt to boost stock prices by cutting the number of shares outstanding.
In many cases, instead of boosting share prices, those reverse splits ended up slashing the market values of the companies that tried them. Although its reverse split is one of the options on the table, "it's not something that we are contemplating at this point," Barr said. Atari has been struggling for much of the last two years with poor sales and management turnover. Still searching for a permanent CEO since its former one
left last June, the company also lost its CFO and its chief accounting officer last month. Barr said the company was "moving ahead" with its search for a new CEO, but declined to give a more detailed update. In recent months, the company has cut 20% of its workforce, shuttered or sold off several of its development studios and warned investors that there was "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue operating. Shares of Atari fell a penny, or about 1%, to 76 cents after the bell on Thursday, after the announcement. At the close of regular trading, Atari's shares were up a penny, or 1%.