Take-Two to remain independent

Publisher reveals it has concluded its internal assessment of strategic options and will continue to go it alone; stock dives.

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Take-Two's yearlong will they, won't they saga of remaining an independent company has come to a close today. After Electronic Arts walked away from buyout talks in mid-September, the publisher said today that its board of directors has wrapped up an ongoing internal strategic alternative assessment, concluding that Take-Two will not advance on any buyout or merger offers.

"Following detailed discussions with various interested parties over the last five months, Take-Two's Board of Directors has determined that it is in the best interests of stockholders to conclude its review of strategic alternatives and to continue operating and building Take-Two as an independent company," the publisher said in a statement.

"We are strongly positioned creatively, financially and competitively to benefit from the opportunities we see in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry," said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick. "Our management and outstanding and talented employees have maintained an unwavering focus on our products and our business through this lengthy strategic review process and we are confident in our prospects. We remain focused on maximizing value for stockholders and are executing on our business strategies in a determined manner."

In addition to, and partially because of, a hostile buyout bid from EA, which was made public in February, Take-Two had previously said that it was entertaining offers and alliances from various unnamed parties. Industry analysts had speculated that both Ubisoft and Activision were potential suitors for Take-Two, the latter of which publicly stated the Grand Theft Auto publisher wouldn't have been a desirable buy.

Widespread economic turmoil has caused many gaming industry companies to see volatile fluctuations to their stock prices. Today was no exception for Take-Two. As of press time, shares in the company were off more than 6 percent from yesterday, trading at $14.94 per share. Following EA dropping its $25.74-per-share bid for Take-Two last month, the publisher's stock skidded nearly 28 percent in a single day.

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