Grand Theft Auto IV is cruising

May 7, 2008

grand-theft-auto.jpgThat was fast. Already, in its first week, Grand Theft Auto IV sold more than 6 million copies globally, rocketing past expectations that were hardly modest to begin with.

So what is it with this game? Well, for one thing, it has been praised by gamers and critics alike who hail it as satirical and multi-layered, the equal of films like “The Godfather” or TV shows like “The Sopranos.”

Made by Take-Two Interactive Software”s Rockstar studio, the game also has its share of detractors, who say it’s too violent and sends the wrong message to kids and young adults. Given the big sales the first week, the criticism doesn’t appear to have hurt its popularity.

But the real question is what does more than $500 million of first week sales of GTA IV mean for Take-Two?

Silicon Alley Insider says this: “Take-Two management has long argued that Wall Street didn’t understand what a hit GTAIV would be. When they did, the argument held, they’d bid the shares up. Time to find out. ”

And the Wall Street Journal points out, “Depending on how the sales figures impact shares of Take-Two, they could strengthen the company’s argument that videogames rival Electronic Arts Inc. needs to raise its unsolicited bid for Take-Two above $2 billion. EA has launched a hostile tender offer of $25.74 for Take-Two shares, which Take-Two has rejected as too low.”

Keep an eye on:

  • Cablevision Systems will acquire Sundance Channel from General Electric Co’s NBC Universal, CBS Corp’s Showtime Networks and entities controlled by Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford.
  • Clearwire Corp and Sprint Nextel Corp plan to combine their next-generation wireless broadband businesses to form a new $14.5 billion communications company (Reuters)
  • Major studios and the Screen Actors Guild broke off three weeks of contract talks without agreement, stoking fears of renewed Hollywood labor unrest after a 100-day writers strike that ended in February (Reuters)
  • Five years have passed since the Jayson Blair scandal shook the New York Times and the media world. MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman takes a look at how media organizations have fared in trying protect themselves from a similar situation (MarketWatch).

(Photo: Reuters)

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“If Take-Two can exceed sales expectations on Grand Theft Auto IV, it has the potential to drive up the share price and force Electronic Arts to raise its offer,” The Times reported in an online article on Wednesday. As we just learned from the flameout of any Yahoo-Microsoft deal, however, the personal relationship between the key players can often be a critical factor for advancing a deal. Indeed, the close personal connections between the members of both EA’s and Take-Two’s Boards of Directors could serve to bring a deal to a satisfactory conclusion for both companies.