In business, as in the stock market, timing, and the willingness to take just the right amount of risk, is everything. And few business executives have perfected the art of walking the tightrope like Strauss Zelnick, former entertainment business mogul, private equity player and now possibly the next kingmaker at troubled video-game maker Take-Two Interactive ( TTWO). Zelnick headed 20th Century Fox as president and chief operating officer in 1989 when he was just 32 and moved to BMG Entertainment as CEO five years later. He quit the company soon after the music label struck a deal with troubled file-sharing service Napster ( NAPS) and went on to start his own private equity firm, ZelnickMedia. Still, few video game enthusiasts and investors had heard of him before he appeared in a filing by a group of activist shareholders as a nominee for the position of nonexecutive chairman for a new board of directors at Take-Two. The shareholder group, consisting of Oppenheimer Funds, SAC Capital Management, Tudor Investment, D.E. Shaw Valence Portfolios and ZelnickMedia, collectively owns a little more than 45% in the company, and it is looking to oust current CEO Paul Eibeler and change the company's board. Take-Two shares
soared more than 14% on news of the Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday. On Friday, the stock gained another 4.2%, to $20.27, less than $1 away from its 52-week high.