Take-Two’s GTA4 Retail Checks…. Maybe Take-Two Can Defend Against EA (TTWO, ERTS, GME, BBY)

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We at 247WallSt.com have made calls doing our own checks to see just how the new blockbuster mega-hit Grand Theft Auto 4 video game from take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO) is selling at some of video game dedicated stores.  Figures that have been thrown around for the first week are $400 million, and if you do a Google search under "GTA4 $400M" you’ll see how many are running this figure.

As Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO) tries to defend itself against a takeover (or to get a higher price) from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS), we wanted to see just how well this game could do.  This is being sold through thousands of stores and many of the locations are completely sold out.  Only a few acted like they had an oversupply of games.  Literally many of the larger stores were stocked with games for those who did not pre-order, but those supplies were being eaten through quickly.  This is also before school and work ended for the bulk of the gaming population, so that’s another catch.

We decided to run a store check the opening morning at store locations for GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), and even the new entrant called Play N Trade.  It goes quite simply like this, the larger the store the harder it is to round up someone that can or will give you an answer.  As well as this game is selling, and with a record breaking sales projection because of the dual-console platform launch, it’s hard to imagine that the company is just going to fold up its tent in defending itself.  If Electronic Arts wants the video game maker, they are trying to buy a company that will have a remarkably improved sales position compared to when the bid was first launched.  The opposite side of the argument is that one title might not make a difference in a decade long time frame.

Many did well in the midnight sales, and here are just a handful of the comments that the employees at the stores said from each store listed.  Please note that while these are in quotes, they are in context but this was the general comment of what we were told at each individual store:

BEST BUY

  • 5133 Richmond Houston TX 77056… "Ordered lots of them, still havemany left but that was to get part way through until next shipment."
  • 1210 Caroline St.; Atlanta GA 30307… "Still have both kinds left, they are both selling quickly, started out with a lot more"

GAMESTOP

  • 5250 Jefferson Hwy; New Orleans, LA 70123…  "Have a ‘good bit’ left,should be replenished tomorrow or the next day, they are sellingequally quickly"
  • 5312 Weslayan; Houston, TX 77005… "sold out like crazy with something like 600 pre-orders; come back May 1"
  • 1309 Beacon, St.; Brookline, MA 02446… "Ordered many; Completely sold out, may get more tomorrow, X-box sells a lot faster"

PLAY N TRADE

  • 2841 Greenbriar Pkwy; Atlanta, GA 30331    "Completely sold out of bothkinds, both went really really fast, should have 70 more in tomorrow."

Below is a full list of stores that we all called to round up someideas for sales comments.  If you wonder why the West Coast andMountain stores stores aren’t listed here it is because they were notyet open and we wanted to get the initial "exit polls" from what wewere able to get from stores that had been open for only two to threehours:

GAMESTOP

  • Cambridgeside Galleria; Cambridge MA
  • PruCenter 800 Boylston; Boston, MA 02199
  • 1309 Beacon, St.; Brookline, MA 02446
  • 1250 Caroline; Atlanta, GA 30307
  • 1801 Howell Mill Rd.; Atlanta GA, 30318
  • Houston Galleria Westheimer
  • 5312 Weslayan (Houston, TX 77005)
  • 675 MEMORIAL CITY WAY (Houston, TX 77024)
  • 500 E Ben White; Austin TX, 78704
  • 6417 Hillcrest Plaza; Dallas (Univ. Park) TX
  • 5334 A Ross Ave.; Dallas, TX 75206
  • 5250 Jefferson Hwy; New Orleans, LA 70123
  • 4021 Behrman Pl; New Orleans, LA 70114
  • 128 East 86th Street; New York NY, 10028
  • 1470 THIRD AVENUE; NEW YORK NY, 10028
  • 1882 3rd Avenue; NEW YORK NY, 10029
  • 2330 Broadway Street; New York NY, 10024
  • Pentagon City Mall; 1100 S. Hayes; Arlington, VA.
  • Hechinger Mall; 1551 Maryland; Washington DC, 20002
  • Ballston Common Mall; 4238 Wilson Blvd.

BEST BUY

  • 5133 Richmond Houston TX 77056
  • 1210 Caroline St.; Atlanta GA 30307
  • 1138 S Clearview Pkwy; New Orleans 70123
  • 1601 Westbank Expy; Harvey LA 70058

PLAY N TRADE

  • 2111 Cortez Rd. W. 941.727.0202 Bradenton, FL
  • 6920 S.Fry Road; suite m; Katy, TX
  • 3107 South IH 35; Round Rock, TX 78664
  • 8806 Bandera Rd.#106; San Antonio, TX 78250
  • 2841 Greenbriar Pkwy; Atlanta, GA 30331

So the real question is this… Will GTA4 alone either stave off a bid or make the bidder pay more?  The answer is obviously Yes and No.  EA is of course wanting the results from the GTA franchise, but they will also add on  even more for sporting games and eliminate one competitor.  We’ll leave that ultimate decision to both companies.  Take-Two runs the risk the game doesn’t add materially enough to defend itself, and if EA walks then it has to fend for itself at lower prices.  EA runs the risk that it let go of what was a platinum franchise that could have been purchased when it was embattled in problems.

Calls made by Jon C. Ogg, Douglas A. McIntyre, and Rachel Lopez on the morning and early afternoon of April 29, 2008