EA delays Take-Two deadline to July 18

Megapublisher formally re-extends its offer for the Grand Theft Auto maker, finds its advances quickly and publicly re-rejected by management.

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Electronic Arts has extended its offer for Grand Theft Auto and BioShock publisher Take-Two Interactive for a fifth time. EA made its first approach to Take-Two back in February, then extended its deadline in late March, mid-April, and mid-May. Besides the delays, the company also announced its intention to postpone its bid in early June.

Although Take-Two stock is currently trading at $26.35, slightly above the $25.74 per share that EA is offering, EA maintains that its price is a fair offer. The senior vice president of corporate development, Owen Mahoney, said, "We congratulate Rockstar on the successful launch of Grand Theft Auto IV but believe our offer reflects a full and fair price based on the long-term value of Take-Two's entire operation."

EA added that the extension would allow the Federal Trade Commission investigation into the proposed deal to continue.

Take-Two's response was swift, and once again, negative. Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said that he believed the offer still "significantly undervalues" the company, and called the move an "unsolicited and highly conditional offer."

He said, "Our Board of Directors remains in unanimous agreement that the proposal is contrary to the best interests of Take-Two stockholders, and the Board continues to recommend that stockholders not tender their shares to EA. The Board remains focused on the strategic process that began formally on April 30 to consider all alternatives to maximize value. We believe that these alternatives, which may include a business combination or remaining independent, will deliver greater value to stockholders than the current EA offer."

Currently, some 6,139,824 of Take-Two's outstanding shares, about 7.9 percent of the total, had tendered into EA's offer as of the end of yesterday. Recently, it has been suggested that Ubisoft might be entering the frame with the intent to form an alliance with Take-Two. Both companies are partially owned by EA.

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