EA offers to buy Take Two for $2bn

Michael French
Electronic Arts has made public an offer to acquire rival publisher Take Two for around $2bn, revealing that the two have been in talks to merge, although the GTA publisher has so far spurned EA's advances.

The all cash merger has been proposed by EA CEO John Riccitiello at $26 dollars a share - up one dollar on a previous offer of $25 dollars a share which the Take Two board had rejected.

EA has revealed that Riccitiello made the original offer to Take Two's executive chairman Strauss Zelnick two weeks ago, but was rejected by the publisher's board.

Electronic Arts has now made the revised offer to Take Two public in order to notify the company's shareholders. The company said that at $26 dollars a share the offer is a 64 per cent premium over Take Two's closing stock price on February 15th, the last trading day before EA sent its revised proposal to the publisher

Mr. Riccitiello added: "Our all-cash proposal is a unique opportunity for Take-Two shareholders to realise immediate value at a substantial premium, while creating long-term value for EA shareholders. Take-Two's game designers would also benefit from EA's financial resources, stable, game-focused management team, and strong global publishing capabilities."

The move would of course put the ownership of the Grand Theft Auto brand and its developer label Rockstar Games under Electronic Arts, along with a number of other studios and brands.

EA has now made public Riccitiello's latest communication with Zelnick, a letter which warns that further Take-Two delay in accepting EA's proposal could prevent Take-Two's shareholders and other constituents from realizing its benefits.

"There can be no certainty that in the future EA or any other buyer would pay the same high premium we are offering today," Riccitiello wrote. The letter added that acquisition would mean EA's publishing and distribution network could help drive the post-launch sales of GTA IV and "support the new Take-Two titles scheduled for launch later in the year and during the holiday selling season".

To read the letter in full, click here.

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Tags: Electronic Arts , ea , take-two , zelnick , riccitiello

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