EA to publish GTA IV?

The industry’s most respected financial analysts have been

discussing EA’s ‘hostile’ tender offer for Take Two

– with some saying that it could happen quickly enough for Grand Theft Auto IV and

Manhunt 2

to have EA’s name on their box.

The group also deliberated the timescale of the deal should it go through and whether John Riccitiello’s mission to acquire Take Two is the most aggressive financial move the video games industry had ever seen.

Former GameShadow and Lodestar freelance analyst Nicholas Lovell told MCV:

I do believe GTA IV will be an EA game. Whether it is the same game that it would have been under Take Two remains to be seen.

I could also imagine EA trying to keep the Rockstar brand as an edgier label, in the same way that wholesome, family-friendly Disney released films like Pulp Fiction or Gangs of New York under the Miramax label.”

Parker Consulting’s Nick Parker added: The timing is crucial – hostile bids can take a long time to resolve and who knows T2 may be successful in defending it. If EA succeeds, it should benefit from some of the GTAIV revenues although the reason to buy T2 should be based on longer term potential of all IPs, not just on this year’s results.”

However, other industry watchers are less sure that the acquisition would go through in time for GTA IV’s release.

Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter told MCV: The deal won’t close for two or three months, so neither GTA IV nor Manhunt 2 will be released under EA’s watch (unless, of course, one or the other is further delayed).”

DFC Intelligence president David Cole added: A takeover like this will take some time. For one it has to get regulatory approval. I don’t think there is any way GTAIV would be an EA game before release.”

Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian commented: I doubt that EA could close a transaction so quickly, but clearly they would like to capture as much GTA revenue as possible this year.”

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