Take Two bans ‘new’ shareholders from annual meeting

Take Two has barred newer investors from attending its imminent annual shareholders meeting – in which the publisher is set to give an indication of the outcome of its ongoing acquisition saga with EA.

Some who no longer own shares will have a role to play in the conference, however, due to the ‘bizarre’ rules the publisher has placed on the occasion.

According to Reuters, the meeting is only open to shareholders who have held stock since February 19th ­– six days before EA disclosed its initial $2 billion ($26-per-share) for the Rockstar parent.

Investors who bought Take-Two shares in the last two months won't get to vote on issues like re-election of the Board, which rejected Electronic Arts' offer as too low ­– or a buyout-related executive pay package.

Analysts believe as much as two-thirds of Take-Two shares have changed hands since late February, and many are held by arbitrageurs, who trade on tiny fluctuations in price.

"The Take-Two meeting will be odd," Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter wrote in an e-mail to Reuters. "Almost all arbs will be excluded."

"In order to get a deal done, the arbs need to call a special meeting with a later record date," Pachter said. "That can only happen Thursday if it was prearranged with EA. Possible, but unlikely."

Shareholders who sold shares in the interim - including huge fund firms Oppenheimer and Fidelity – will still wield voting power based on their previous, larger stakes held before the record date.

EA spokesman Jeff Brown said the firm was unhappy over how Take Two's meeting had been set up.

"It's like having Canada and Mexico vote in the American presidential election, but barring voters from the 50 states," Brown said.

A Take-Two spokesman told Reuters that the February 19th date of record for shareholders was set before the company received the takeover offer.

Take Two’s stockholders have remained silent up until now on EA’s second, ‘hostile’ bid – leaving the decision in the balance until Take Two's AGM, which takes place tomorrow morning UK time – or later on this afternoon if you’re reading this in the US.

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Tags: Electronic Arts , Take 2 , ea , take-two

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