EA bid for Take-Two turns hostile
Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest video game publisher, has gone hostile with its $2 billion U.S. bid to take over Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.
EA made a bid to Take-Two's management in the middle of last month, but the company rejected the offer on Feb. 24. Take-Two said it was open to talks but wanted to wait until April 30, after Grand Theft Auto IV hits store shelves.
EA has now taken its bid directly to Take-Two shareholders, offering them $26 U.S. a share, a 64-per-cent premium over what their shares were worth on Feb. 15, before the initial offer was made. EA's offer is valid until midnight April 11. Take-Two's annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for April 10.
Take-Two said in a statement on Thursday it would review the latest offer and advise shareholders of its position within 10 business days.
Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said in February that EA's offer undervalued the company and didn't take into account the full impact of the Grand Theft Auto series, which has sold 66 million copies worldwide.
The two companies have been discussing an acquisition since March last year. EA is looking to bolster its games lineup, which includes the Madden and Need for Speed franchises, in order to compete with Vivendi SA, which is joining forces with Activision Inc.
EA and Activision are duking it out in the stores for gaming dollars, with the two having three and four games respectively in the top 20 sales in February, according to consumer electronics tracking firm NPD Group. EA's Rock Band continued to battle with Activision's Guitar Hero 3, although Nintendo took top spot with its Play game for the Wii.