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EA approaches Take-Two shareholders in takeover bid

Electronic Arts, clearly not taking “no” for an answer, has upped its efforts to acquire rival games company Take-Two Interactive, publisher of BioShock and the Grand Theft Auto series. With no headway made in negotiations with Take-Two management, EA is now going directly to the shareholders with intent to purchase all currently outstanding shares of common stock of TTWO.

EA is offering $26 cash per share, a figure that it has previously offered Take-Two management without success, with a total cash deal of $2 billion in the case of a complete buyout.

“This is a great opportunity for Take-Two shareholders. We believe Take-Two investors will see our tender offer as the best way to maximize the value of their investment in Take-Two. This tender offer provides a clear process to complete the proposed transaction,” declared EA CEO John Riccitiello.

EA states that the offer represents a 64 percent premium over Take-Two stock price on February 15, but now the $26 bid sits at around 4.4 percent above the current price. The tender offer is scheduled to expire April 11, 2008, unless the tender offer is extended. The release of Take-Two’s largest title of 2008, Grand Theft Auto 4, will be hitting stores two weeks after the close of EA’s offer.

Riccitiello added, “For EA shareholders, the combination would add additional intellectual properties to our already strong portfolio and welcome Take-Two's talented creative teams to the great development organization we've built at EA.”

Take-Two Interactive’s board of directors, intent on retaining control of the company, issued a notice to its shareholders shortly after EA’s bid, urging them not to accept.

“The Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. today recommended that Take-Two stockholders take no action at this time in response to the announcement by Electronic Arts Inc. that it has made an unsolicited conditional tender offer to acquire all of Take-Two's outstanding shares of common stock for $26 per share in cash,” read the release.

Take-Two added that it would re-examine the offer once again. “Consistent with its fiduciary duties, and in consultation with its independent financial and legal advisors, Take-Two's Board will review and consider EA's offer, and within 10 business days, will advise Take-Two's stockholders of the Board's position regarding the offer as well as its reasons for that position.”

This marks the second time EA has readied $2 billion in hopes of acquiring Take-Two Interactive. In February, EA made an offer of $25 per share, eventually upping it to $26, only to be rejected by Take-Two’s board.

Take-Two’s public statement at the time was, “After careful evaluation, the Board has determined that EA's proposal substantially undervalues Take-Two’s robust and enviable stable of game franchises, exceptional creative talent and strong consumer loyalty. We believe EA's unsolicited offer is highly opportunistic and is attempting to take advantage of our upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto IV, one of the most valuable and durable franchises in the industry.”

Shares of Take-Two jumped immediately following EA’s offer last month, going from $17 to the most recent trading price of $25.63.



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Dont do it!
By AlphaVirus on 3/13/2008 4:40:48 PM , Rating: 5
"Dont do it, reconsider, read some lit-a-ture on the subject" -Andre 3000 - Players Anthem

I swear if EA takes over another company in the gaming industry I am going to throw a brick in every car in their parking lot.

This is complete bull that they keep taking over everything and dropping bombs on the consumers. It just goes to show that no matter how much money a company has, it still takes skill, time, and talent to produce quality products.




RE: Dont do it!
By MrBlastman on 3/13/2008 4:55:12 PM , Rating: 5
EA is like the greedy jealous bully on the playground...

If they can't have it, they take it! After they finally have it, being a bunch of idiots, they then ruin it.

Same thing here. At 26 bucks a share, the tender offer is not that attractive. I think they'll have to up their ante a bit to get some biters. I hope they fail in this acquisition, I really do.


RE: Dont do it!
By AToZKillin on 3/13/2008 4:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
Ditto on MrBlastman. Mine was more long-winded, but essentially said the same thing.


RE: Dont do it!
By AToZKillin on 3/13/2008 4:55:46 PM , Rating: 5
Amen. I won't do the brick thing, but I'm already kind of adverse to the stuff they put out, and probably will be more and more so. I've personally seen them ruin several franchises I used to like, and I know people who avoid EA sports games like the plague.

It's not the takeover that's really at issue here. It's their track record with takeovers. Usually, the resulting impact on the consumer is a negative one; crappier games with more bugs, DRM, in-game ads, and STILL pretty high prices. It seems to be the opposite of Google (correct me if I'm wrong). They take little fledgling companies with great ideas and expand on them to provide cool services. EA just turns gold into sh*t, and water into piss.

I doubt the investors care about this. I think the best way to convince them is to stress the fact that GTA, along w/other franchises, will continue to grow and pump the stock up well above EA's offer. Currently it's trading @ around 25 low, which means EA's offer isn't very tempting. Don't these hostile takeovers usually involve purchases of shares at an exorbitant price?

On the other hand, these offers are good for Take-Two's stock prices =) in the short term.


RE: Dont do it!
By BMFPitt on 3/13/2008 5:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Currently it's trading @ around 25 low, which means EA's offer isn't very tempting. Don't these hostile takeovers usually involve purchases of shares at an exorbitant price?
It was trading at $17 before the offer, so the offer was about 50% higher than the price at the time. The fact that it's now $25 reflects that investors find it pretty likely that they will accept the offer.

I hope they don't, EA will destroy the franchise.


RE: Dont do it!
By Samus on 3/14/08, Rating: 0
RE: Dont do it!
By afkrotch on 3/14/2008 7:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to have to agree with you one that one. GTA3 was pretty okay. Then they just made the same crap over and over again. Add in a motorcycle, airplane, and weight lifting. Viola. San Andreas, Vice City, Liberty City Stories, and whatever else the'll come up with.

With luck, GTA4 is a big change, but I can't see that change a whole lot. It's like the Medal of Honor series. Some things should just die out.


RE: Dont do it!
By xRyanCat on 3/14/2008 6:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
Although the differences between games can often be slim, I absolutely love GTA San Andreas. Every once in a while its fun to just go out pull a grand theft auto. (See what I did there?) GTA wouldn't have nearly the fan base it has now if it hadn't gone the route it did.


RE: Dont do it!
By Yeah on 3/14/2008 12:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wow .. you must not be an investor at all (neither am I but I did work for a company that handled real time quotes once) If the stock is trading at a price near what EA is offering than there is no reason for investors to sell at that price. (to EA).

What SHOULD happen at this point is TT needs to split thier stock to invite more shareholders into their game.

I'd welcome the brick thing.


RE: Dont do it!
By AlphaVirus on 3/13/2008 5:20:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I doubt the investors care about this. I think the best way to convince them is to stress the fact that GTA, along w/other franchises, will continue to grow and pump the stock up well above EA's offer. Currently it's trading @ around 25 low, which means EA's offer isn't very tempting. Don't these hostile takeovers usually involve purchases of shares at an exorbitant price?

Well as the article mentions, Take2's stocks were at $17/share before EA's first offer and after the first offer it had risen to the current $25/share point. Buying $25 stocks at $26 is like a slap in the face.

EA is seriously pushing the tide to get in Take2's door before GTA4 launch it seems. I hope, for the gamers sake, Take 2 fights EA off or else we will be left with a great game with half a leg cut off due to EA's carelessness.

quote:
Amen. I won't do the brick thing, but

I would do the brick thing but EA might take over the government and put me in jail for life.


RE: Dont do it!
By molgenit on 3/14/2008 8:06:28 AM , Rating: 1
Well looking at current prices is at best short sighted. As a whole Take-2’s stock performance has been stagnant at best, even when dogs were doing FAR better than they should have in the previous Bull market.. It has consistently underperformed in its sector and most analysts are saying EA’s offer is already more than it should be. There are already 2 lawsuits by stockholders in process and if they let the deadline slip most people feel EA WILL let the offer pass and the stock will tank again, (although the release of a new product may help soften the blow a bit). If that release is not a MAJOR hit then the board would be in HUGH trouble with the stock dropping well below the $17-19 dollar mark, which would mean a certain takeover at a loss to the investors. I’m not saying its good or not, but investors often are not involved with a companies products. If people really like a company buying the stock is the best way to keep it going.


RE: Dont do it!
By PCXLFan on 3/13/2008 7:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I swear if EA takes over another company in the gaming industry I am going to throw a brick in every car in their parking lot.


No you just go after the most expensive cars in the lot and smash them to pieces and take a dump on the hood, and write burn in hell EA in pink paint on the side of the cars.

Leave the cars of all the low paid programmers, artists, game testers, etc alone, they have no say in EA's dastardly ways.

Heck they aren't reaping the rewards. They still are likely working shithole jobs and getting no pay for overtime work. The stockholders and high up corporate executives are reaping all the rewards and living the high life shipping champagne out of skulls of dead development studios while suntanning on their yots off the Caribbean coast


RE: Dont do it!
By Omega215D on 3/14/2008 1:52:21 AM , Rating: 3
I'll do a drive-by to one EA exec, go plant a car bomb for the other, beat the life out of another with a bat drive off with his shiny new car and head to a Paint 'n' Spray.


RE: Dont do it!
By sirius4k on 3/14/2008 5:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I swear if EA takes over another company in the gaming industry I am going to throw a brick in every car in their parking lot.
Meet You there!

PLEASE don't let this s**t happen! I mean.. If they screw Grand Theft Auto series up.. what's there out to play anymore??? Something good I mean.

Blizzard is pretty popular with it's WoW thing.. wonder when that's going to find it's end =P


EA's new slogan should be.
By vhx on 3/13/2008 4:58:13 PM , Rating: 4
EA: Ruining franchises since 2000.

Seriously this would be a shame to see Take Two's game become a shadow of their former selves. I saw what they did to Westwood, (Command and Conquers series) and just shook my head. Not to mention the sports games seem to somehow get worse every year. I don't even play sports games, but my friends who loved them stopped buying their games or paying attention to new releases. I read the reviews and I don't blame them.

I would hate to say this would be the beginning of the end if they got them. However, I can picture in my mind a train that is gaining more momentum with each acquisition.




RE: EA's new slogan should be.
By AlphaVirus on 3/13/2008 5:30:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I saw what they did to Westwood, (Command and Conquers series) and just shook my head. Not to mention the sports games seem to somehow get worse every year.

I watched both of these gaming segments fail also the famed Sim City series. I loved the Sim City titles but once EA took the reins, I became a sad sad gamer. Command and Conquer was a great game also, sad to see it go the way it is. I still play Red Alert: Yuri's Revenge for old times sake.

The good thing is
quote:
Some of the original Westwood developer team remained at EA Los Angeles, but most left to form Petroglyph Games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroglyph_Games
March 25th they have a game "Universe at War" for XBOX360


RE: EA's new slogan should be.
By christojojo on 3/13/2008 6:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder what Take Two's future ex-developers will call their new company(s)?


RE: EA's new slogan should be.
By Omega215D on 3/14/2008 1:49:46 AM , Rating: 3
EA: Take Two, or EA 2, or EAT.

And eventually their HQ will look like a Borg Cube.


RE: EA's new slogan should be.
By dflynchimp on 3/14/2008 9:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
"Resistance is futile"

luckily in that particular situation things turned out otherwise....


Anti-competitive?
By aos007 on 3/13/2008 6:27:17 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't US anti-competition bureau have something to say about this? Wouldn't this leave just one giant publisher in the market? I thought that's not allowed. A gaming company is still serious business, shouldn't same rules apply to them as well?




RE: Anti-competitive?
By raphd on 3/13/2008 10:42:40 PM , Rating: 2
activision. Superb games!


RE: Anti-competitive?
By nbachman on 3/14/2008 1:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't Microsoft publish games as well?


RE: Anti-competitive?
By mollick2 on 3/14/2008 4:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
there are alot of publishers, just none quite to the scale of EA.

theres nintendo, ubisoft, microsoft, THQ, vivendi, midway, capcom, konami, and activision.


EA Haters...
By Sandok on 3/14/2008 4:06:31 AM , Rating: 1
I definately understand why some people hate EA (hell I haven't bought an EA Sports game in eons) but they DO make some pretty darn nice games.

SSX anyone? A great title for the PS2.
Army of Two? A more recent and fun title.
Need for Speed Most Wanted? My favorite NFS of all time.
Crysis? A good, fun and innovative FPS with non-linearity overload.

Sure they've ruined some games (C&C a bit, but I liked Generals and the latest Tiberium) so why do people act as if they're Hitler reincarnated?

There is WAY worse out there in the gaming world (KOEI and their stupid reptitive ugly Dynasty Warriors... Ugh...)




RE: EA Haters...
By otispunkmeyer on 3/14/2008 5:20:12 AM , Rating: 2
wasnt Crtsis made by Crytek and then taken over by EA right toward the end of the development?

i hve to agree on NFS:MW but it ends there really. all the ones since havent been too good and neither have the ones before. (except NFS 2 Hot pursuit)

it is their sports games that suck.. how they thought they could make a crummy engine and then ask what basically amounts to a £40 subscription every year when they simply update the car/driver/athlete roster i dont know.

i bought a NASCAR game off EA and i think i dropped it within about 5minutes of playing becuase it had Nothing on Papyrus's efforts such as NASCAR Racing 4


RE: EA Haters...
By Martimus on 3/14/2008 12:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
Crysis was developed by Crytek, it is just published by EA. EA really has nothing to do with the game, other than putting it in a box and making sure you can get it at the store (and probably advertising as well).


RE: EA Haters...
By sirius4k on 3/14/2008 5:24:26 AM , Rating: 3
Well.. some people like the real gaming experience.. on PC.
Don't know much about console games, but they totally fuc**d up C&C. Well.. NFS.. it isn't much, but it just might be the only good thing EA has ever made.

And I'm one of the few who actually didn't like Crysis :P

EA has a tendency to crapify everything it touches (takes over).. so.. that just might be the reason, why gamers hate EA.


By christojojo on 3/13/2008 5:55:42 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
EA is offering $26 cash per share , a figure that it has previously offered Take-Two management without success, with a total cash deal of $2 billion in the case of a complete buyout.


Let's see

1 Lame sequels
2 Blame it on higher development costs
(when you can spend that much on a take over the cost your money isn't were your mouth is)

quote:
"The command and conquer model," said the EA CEO, "doesn't work. If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake."


from http://www.dailytech.com/EA+Regrets+Stifling+Devel...

feel free to add wallet/ talent draining practices




I saw this coming
By Polynikes on 3/13/2008 4:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Voodoo Extreme posted a news item about the two largest shareholders in Take-Two selling off a significant chunk of their shares several days ago; it was obvious to me that this would be EA's chance for a hostile takeover.




Talk about bad planning.
By Farfignewton on 3/14/2008 1:33:00 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
“and welcome Take-Two's talented creative teams to the great development organization we've built at EA.”

This can only mean that EA bought a real estate developer when no one was looking and plan to put the Take-Two guys there. Probably not the best use of their talents. ;)




EA
By thebrown13 on 3/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: EA
By Protagonist42 on 3/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: EA
By PlasmaBomb on 3/13/2008 7:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
Dude what are you smoking? Remember puff, puff, pass!


RE: EA
By JDoobs on 3/13/2008 7:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Take-Two has never really produdced a great game...


I suppose Bioshock didn't win multiple game of they year awards then? What about the Grand Theft Auto series? Elder Scrolls 4? ... Yea you're right, never published anything good.


RE: EA
By thebrown13 on 3/13/2008 8:37:22 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry, I didn't realize Bioshock and Oblivion were under Take 2. But you do realize, Bioshock had to be both activated and have the DVD present to play the game. That's usually the publisher that demands those things.

Not to mention Oblivion was a really great game and all we're seeing is craptacular expansion packs. No potential wasted there at all, nope. Same with dungeon siege.


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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