EA bid wrong price, wrong time


The company behind the hugely popular video game "Grand Theft Auto" says it is not going to jump at a $2 billion buyout offer from Electronic Arts Inc.
The offer is "the wrong price at the wrong time," Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. chief executive Ben Feder said Monday after the news of the $26-per-share bid sent Take-Two's shares up 55 percent to a $26.89 close.
Electronic Arts is undervaluing Take-Two and not factoring in the benefits of its recent turnaround efforts, Feder said in an interview. Take-Two said it is open to discussions with EA, but wants to wait until April 30, the day after the latest version of Grand Theft Auto hits store shelves.
But analysts said Take-Two may not have the luxury of time. While Take-Two wants a higher price, EA could make this bid hostile, or walk away and come back with a lower offer, they said.
"There can be no certainty that in the future EA or any other buyer would pay the premium we are proposing today," EA's CEO John Riccitiello said during a conference call.
"We believe our proposal is fully priced," he said. Since "Grand Theft Auto IV" should by now be essentially complete, he added, the buyout bid "would not jeopardize the development of this incredibly important title."
GTA has sold more than 65 million copies in the decade since the first game in the series, where players complete gritty crime missions to rise to the top.

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