Electronic Arts has offered $2 billion cash to purchase Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of GTA IV, the Civilization franchise and the inevitable BioShock 2.
According to Bloomberg News, Electronic Arts took its $26-per-share offer to Take-Two’s investors after Take-Two’s board rejected the offer on February 22. EA apparently made its offer on February 15, making the offer 64 percent higher than Take-Two’s closing stock price on that day.
EA’s offer to purchase Take-Two is timed impeccably well, with Rockstar set to release Grand Theft Auto IV on April 29 for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. Take-Two is the publisher of all Rockstar games. Although GTA IV is destined to make money hand over fist, however, Take-Two hasn’t reported an annual profit since 2005, according to the Bloomberg report.
Electronic Arts apparently approached Take-Two in December 2007, when EA indicated it would like to complete an acquisition after GTA IV’s release and before the end of the summer. Although this seems like odd timing (pre-GTA IV), it would still enable EA to capture revenues from the fall and holiday shopping seasons.
Such timing, if EA’s acquisition of Take-Two is approved, would also put the company in position to capitalize on revenues from BioShock 2. Although a sequel to the outstanding 2007 RPG/FPS hasn’t been confirmed, Take-Two will inevitably develop and publish one, considering the commercial and critical success of the first BioShock.
EA’s offer for Take-Two follows the company’s acquisition earlier this year of BioWare/Pandemic. The fruits of that acquisition have already been borne, as EA announced it plans to publish a PC version of Mass Effect, which was previously an Xbox 360 exclusive rle-playing game.