Straight from the horse's (or horses' as it's the board of Take-Two) mouth comes this revision of the timetable in which it will consider Electronic Arts $26 (£13) per share.
EA has, by the way, formalised its tender proposal and set a date of April 11th for capitulation... sorry, agreement.
Take-Two, the parent company of Grand Theft Auto
developer, Rockstar, had previously stated that it would 'initiate discussions' on April 30th - one day after GTA IV's
release. In a statement released today
- March 13th - the board states:
"Take-Two's Board will review and consider EA's offer, and within 10 business days, will advise Take-Two's stockholders of the Board's position regarding the offer as well as its reasons for that position."
This means that a decision will be made on March 27th, one month and two days prior to the release of GTA IV
. In the interim, the T2 board is advising (or pleading - depending on your... take) with its stockholders to wait before taking any action prior to the date.
"The Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today recommended that Take-Two stockholders take no action at this time in response to the announcement by Electronic Arts Inc that it has made an unsolicited conditional tender offer to acquire all of Take-Two's outstanding shares of common stock for $26 per share in cash."
This follows EA's official tender proposal issued this morning
. The details of this say 'hard ball' and no messing.
The top line is that EA's original offer which was valued at $2 billion (£1b) "and represents a 64% premium over Take-Two's closing stock price on February 15" stays the same. But this time it's gone straight to the stockholders with the deal. This is backed-up by EA Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello who states, "This is a great opportunity for Take-Two shareholders. We believe Take-Two investors will see our tender offer as the best way to maximize the value of their investment in Take-Two. This tender offer provides a clear process to complete the proposed transaction."
There is also a pre-GTA IV
-launch expiry date of "12:00 midnight, New York City time, on Friday, April 11 2008...unless the tender offer is extended" placed on the deal.
EA also has the cash to close this deal rapidly, stating that "The tender offer is not conditioned upon financing".
The conditions it does come with, however, do not exactly point the way to an open and free market where competition breeds creativity. One of the conditions is:
"(2) the anti-takeover provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law not being applied to the tender offer or any subsequent merger with EA."
The final condition more than suggests that EA is not going to negotiate on this:
"(4) Take-Two entering into a merger agreement on terms satisfactory to EA in its reasonable judgement."
If SPOnG was a betting site, we'd have a few Yorkshire bob on EA winning this one. But we in no way endorse or encourage gambling - although we like gambolling.