EA walks away from Take-Two

Publisher says it has terminated discussions to acquire Grand Theft Auto publisher and won't be making another offer.

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Nearly seven months ago, Electronic Arts went public with its intentions to acquire Take-Two Interactive, touching off a protracted back-and-forth saga between the two companies. Take-Two steadfastly insisted it was worth more than the initial $2 billion offer from EA, and EA resolutely refused to sweeten the pot. After months with little movement on the deal, EA agreed to enter formal discussions with Take-Two management in August.

Those discussions were ultimately fruitless, as Electronic Arts today announced that after "careful consideration," it has terminated those discussions and will not be making another offer to acquire Take-Two.

Take-Two issued its own response to the news, with chairman of the board Strauss Zelnick saying his team will continue working to increase value for the company's stockholders.

"This has been our goal since EA launched its conditional and unsolicited bid six months ago; a bid which was repeatedly rejected by our stockholders," Zelnick said. "As part of that commitment, we remain actively engaged in discussions with other parties in the context of our formal process to consider strategic alternatives."

Take-Two has referred a number of times to "other parties" that might be interested in merging or acquiring the publisher, but has never specified who those parties are. Industry analysts had speculated that both Ubisoft and Activision were potential suitors for Take-Two.

Take-Two shares closed the trading day Friday at $21.89. The Friday before Electronic Arts made its original offer for the company, Take-Two stock traded at $17.36. EA has tendered an offer of $25.74 for each share of the company.

Electronic Arts shares ended the trading week at $44.99, down from the $49.74 it closed at before making the initial offer in February.

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