Digest: Take-Two shares slide on findings

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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. shares dropped 2.2% on Monday to $19.66 after the company said that an internal probe found that some stock-option grants were incorrectly dated and that it will have to restate some financial results dating back to 1997. The improprieties were discovered during an investigation by a special committee of its board, and the probe did not find misconduct by the company's current executive officers, including CEO Paul Eibeler and chief financial officer Karl Winters.

Well-positioned DirecTV hits high
Shares of satellite TV operator DirecTV Group Inc. surged to a 52-week high Monday after Deutsche Bank analyst Doug Mitchelson boosted his rating to "buy" and price target from $20 to $30, saying the company is best positioned to take advantage of high-definition TV. DirecTV's probable sale to Liberty Media -- with a deal expected this week -- will give it a more aggressive owner that is more likely to seek either a merger with rival EchoStar Communications or partnerships that will enable broadband services, the analyst said. DirecTV, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., added 5% to $25.49.

Outlook good for global ad spending
Carat, Europe's biggest media-buying firm, has raised its forecast for growth in global spending on advertising in 2007 to 5.8% amid an improved outlook in Japan and the U.S. Carat, whose previous forecast for 2007 was for 5.5%, also raised its forecast for 2006 growth from 5.7% to 6%. "The most significant change to regional forecasts comes from Asia-Pacific," Carat said, adding it now expected 7.4% growth for the region in 2007, up from the 6.8% it forecast in June. U.S. growth, given a boost this year by midterm elections, is mainly being driven by the Internet, with online advertising growing by 20%, Carat said.
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