Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software received a "Wells" notice last week from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's division of enforcement, in connection with a previously disclosed investigation into Take-Two's historical stock-option practices.
Take-Two is the parent of Rockstar Games, creators of the notorious and lucrative "Grand Theft Auto" series.
On Aug. 9, The SEC's division of enforcement staff informed Take-Two that it intends to seek authority from the commission to file charges in connection with its investigation, and that it also intends to seek authority from the commission to seek a civil monetary penalty.
Take-Two said it still expects to resolve the investigation by means of a settlement rather than litigation, and said it believes that the Wells call represents a "significant step forward towards that resolution."
On Wednesday, Take-Two shares lost 88 cents, or $6.53, to close at $12.60 on the Nasdaq. In after-hours trade, the stock gained 49 cents at $13.09.
On Aug. 2, Take-Two announced it would be forced to delay the release of "Grand Theft Auto IV." The delay, which could last as long as six months, will keep the game's latest incarnation from being available in time for the 2007 holiday shopping season.