| 25th Feb 2008 at 03:08 GMT in General
[img]http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:e3Kbg0ibAMaprM:http://tech.blorge.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/img-6824-ea-logo-2.jpg[/img]After weeks of speculation, Electronic Arts have placed a formal unsolicited $2billion dollar bid for Take Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, publishers of the GTA series. The gaming giant seems to really be interested in merging the companies, offering $26 a share after several private offers were rejected by Take Two's board.
GTA IV is widely expected to be the top-selling game of 2008, and more than 60 million copies of GTA games so far have been sold. If GTA IV sold the expected 10 million copies before the end of the year, that would make Take Two more expensive, which explains why EA has placed an aggressive bid now - plus it allows them to reap the profits of Take Two's imminent success.
Take Two has a reputation of producing one-hit wonders and a massive winning streak with GTA, whereas the more steady EA is known more for its countless sequels than its innovation and creativity. EA's CEO John Riccitiello said they intend to merge Take Two with EA before Christmas, and that he was already had a relationship with Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser.
Take Two have previously stated that the company is not for sale, and have rejected a number of offers from Take Two. Chairman Strauss Zelnick said "EA's proposal provides insufficient value to our shareholders and comes at absolutely the wrong time given the crucial initiatives under way at the company.” This bluntly says that they are expecting massive success with GTA IV, and do not want EA to be piggybacking on its success.
However EA will not be as interested in buying Take Two after GTA IV has been released, as they won't see the direct profits from the game. Take Two offered to negotiate a deal beginning on the day after GTA IV's release, but EA have turned that down, suggesting EA wants a big pre-GTA discount.
EA has acquired many high-profile game studios, including Westwood (Command & Conquer), Bullfrog Productions (Populous) and Origin Systems (Ultima), which all disappeared into EA. Take Two takes the opposite approach by providing each studio their own identity and individuality, which shows in the games they product. Take Two will be keen to keep this in place after any merger, and EA has a long way to go to prove that.
However there is a possibility that individual studios, including Rockstar Games and 2K Boston (Bioshock) would separate from Take Two rather than be merged into EA.
Do you think EA would do good things with the GTA series, using their countless industry contacts and professionals to enhance the games? Or are they likely to ruin it with endless sub-par sequels and erase the passion that has built up over the GTA community? Discuss this in our forums.
Update: Take Two has officially rejected this offer from EA. Read IGN's article here.
Thanks Red Devil for the update.