EA extends the expiration for its Take-Two buyout offer

Electronic Arts said Friday that it would extend the expiration date of its $2 billion takeover offer of Take-Two buy about one month. The deal was originally scheduled to expire on Friday.

However, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it was opening up a second line of inquiry on the merger, and so far Take-Two has rebuffed EA's offer. Now, the deal will expire on May 16.

The terms of the deal essentially remain unchanged, although the company changed the per-share price to reflect additional shares that were issued to Zelchick Media at the shareholder meeting Thursday.

EA is offering Take-Two $25.74 per share, which is actually under the current asking price of slightly over $26 as of midday Friday trading. However, the company says the offer price is "full and fair," and the merger is in the best interest of both company's shareholders.

Take-Two shareholders took steps at the meeting to prepare for a sale, even if it does not happen. The group approved a measure granting some $39 million in stock to top managers if the company is sold, and the board's measure was approved by over two-thirds of all voters.

Although it may have appeared on the outside the company was not interested in talking about a sale at the meeting, CEO Strauss Zelnick would not rule out a sale if the price is right.

While second requests for information are generally rare, EA continues to believe that it should have no problem clearing regulatory hurdles. However it warned that it may lower its offer since the deal "becomes less valuable to EA with each passing month."

Regulators may especially be looking at the sports games segment. Combined, the two companies would control about half that market. It is there where most of the problems with the deal could be originating.

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