Take-Two takers?

June 6, 2008

Take-Two Interactive CEO Ben Feder told us yesterday the company is in formal discussions with a range of parties interested in its “strategic alternatives,” which could involve a sale.

But they didn’t say with whom.

The “Grand Theft Auto” game maker has been fending off the unsolicited advances of Electronic Arts‘ $2 billion offer since March. At the time, Take-Two management deemed the $25.74 per share offer too low, charging EA with low-balling the company ahead of the release of the latest from its hit criminal action franchise. Take-Two traded at $27.52 on Friday morning.

So, who else might be a potential white knight? Time Warner, which has made no secret of its ambitions in the games arena, would be a nice fit, although we’re hearing they’re not in this one. Just this week the company led a $40 million round of financing for online games developer Turbine Entertainment, on the heels of a $30 million investment in April in “Lara Croft” maker SCi Entertainment Group.

A deal to separate from its cable division, which is expected to net Time Warner about $9 billion in cash, frees up some capital for deals in the content sector. They’re competing with NBC Universal and a consortium of investors to buy Landmark’s Weather Channel.

Viacom would be another rational suitor having struck gold with its purchase of “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” developer Harmonix. But the company has all but taken itself off the market for big deals, repeating a mantra in recent months to grow its operations organically.

Beyond that a universe of domestic and foreign buyers, game developers and other media ventures could have expressed interested. Discuss.


Keep an eye on:

  • AOL expands, integrates Platform-A in Europe. (Reuters)
  • Zagat’s pulls self off the market after failing to find a buyer to meet its price. (paidContent)
  • Sony CEO Howard Stringer speaks to the Times and ends up asking the questions. “Should we get out of some of these businesses?” (NYT’s Bits)

(Photo: Reuters / Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick)

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