EA again extends Take-Two deadline

From the Associated Press

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. has for a third time extended the deadline for its $2-billion tender offer to buy smaller rival Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., but it did not raise the price as many analysts had expected.

Take-Two again spurned the offer price as too low while saying it had "begun the process" of formally talking to interested parties. EA is the only company that has publicly expressed interest in buying Take-Two, and analysts aren't expecting another suitor to come forward.

Redwood City, Calif.-based EA said Monday that it was extending the offer, which had expired Friday, to June 16 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

The price remains $25.74 a share although Take-Two's stock has not traded below $26 since May 1. Analysts, such as Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter, expect EA to end up paying about a couple of dollars more per share to get the deal done.

As of Friday, about 6.2 million shares had been tendered, representing about 8% of Take-Two's outstanding shares. This is slightly less than the approximately 6.4 million shares that had been tendered as of April 17, the day before EA last extended the deadline.

EA said the latest extension would allow the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust review of the proposed acquisition to continue.

New York-based Take-Two is best known for its "Grand Theft Auto" series of games. The latest installment of the popular franchise sold 6 million copies worldwide in its first week for sale, bringing in more than $500 million and making it the most lucrative video game launch in history.

Take-Two's shares fell 19 cents to $26.91 and EA's stock dropped $1.17 to $48.43.

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