Take-Two’s (TTWO) “Grand Theft Auto IV” Sales May Take Stock Above Electronics Arts (ERTS) Bid

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Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) has been trying to get investors in Take-Two Interactive NASDAQ:(TTWO) to view its takeover bid of $26 a share as the best deal in town. TTWO is making the case that the offer is much too low. Sales of its newest game "Grand Theft Auto IV"  could considerably buttress it argument that the company has a value well above the ERTS bid.

According to The New York Post, "Gaming analyst Mike Hickey, after reviewing pre-sales of the game, anticipated shipments and other data, predicted "GTA4" would sell 5.8 million units in the first seven days after its April 29 release – which would nearly double the current record set by "Halo 3" last year."

If that assessment is correct, the Take-Two board will have made an clever decision to fight off Electronic Arts. Take-Two trades at $25.61 now. If sales reports for the first few weeks show that the new game is a blockbuster, it is not hard to imagine that the stock could move above $29 where it traded in mid-2005.

If the shares do take a run of that magnitude, Electronic Arts may have to improve its bid to $32 or more, and TTWO shareholders will do 23% better than they would have if their board had taken the first offer.

Douglas A. McIntyre