Take-Two to EA: Pay Up or Watch ‘Grand Theft Auto 4’ Go Gangbusters (ERTS, TTWO)

March 26, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

If you have ever seen a video game company go on the defensive in staying independent or by demanding much more money, you are seeing it over at Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

Its board of directors has announced that it has thoroughly reviewed the proposed buyout offer from Electronic Arts Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ERTS) and it unanimously determined that the $26.00 per share cash offer is inadequate.  The company cites that this is in multiple respects and is contrary to the best interests of stockholders.  It has recommended that shareholders do not tender any of their shares to Electronic Arts.

Shares closed up about 1% at $25.82 yesterday and are up 0.5% at $25.95 in pre-market trading.  Since this deal was proposed by Electronic Arts, shares have traded as high as $27.61.  Over the last 5-year period shares have flirted with nearing $30.00 but never penetrated that level or stayed there.

Grand Theft Auto 4 is being released on April 29 for $59.99 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms after a long-awaited delay.  The GTA series is always a mega-hit in video game sales.  The company is either putting its whole future in that franchise leading it out of the last 2-years of turmoil, or it wants a higher price.  Electronic Arts better decide if it will pay $30.00 ahead of that release or if it is willing to risk letting Take-Two get away.  The company has also laid out its agenda for its annual shareholder meeting next month.

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Jon C. Ogg
March 26, 2008

Jon Ogg produces the Special Situation Investing Newsletter and can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.