Electronic Arts rethinks hostile Take Two takeover

Business Materials 19 August 2008 01:21 (UTC +04:00)

Electronic Arts, the world's largest maker of video games, said Monday it was reconsidering its hostile takeover bid for smaller rival Take-Two Interactive because a merger could not be completed in time for the all important holiday season, dpa reported.

Take Two is the publisher of the controversial, but highly successful game series Grand Theft Auto - selling 8.5 million copies of the latest version in the quarter that ended in June.

That yielded the company's first profit in the highly cyclical industry, but many Take-Two shareholders sided with the company board in rejecting EA's offer of 25.74 dollars a share as too low. The offer valued the company at around 2 billion dollars.

In an announcement Monday, EA said it would not extend its offer beyond the current deadline but would agree to hear a confidential presentation from Take Two detailing its future plans and financial projections.

Analysts said the meeting indicated that both sides were eager to close a deal, even though management was holding out for the best price.

The announcement followed a weekend letter from Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick to Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello, in which Zelnick said the company "has made significant strides since EA first expressed interest" in Take-Two.

In a separate statement, Zelnick said his company's board remains "unwavering in its belief" that EA's offer price was too low.

Riccitiello said the company was rethinking the value of its original offer. "We no longer believe we can integrate Take-Two ahead of the important holiday season," he said in a statement. "Accordingly, we require due diligence to support a transaction."