Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick says the overwhelming success of the Grand Theft Auto IV launch has vindicated the publisher's strategy in resisting the acquisition attempts made by Electronic Arts.
EA's original offer of $26 per share for Take-Two in February was rejected outright by the company's board of directors, who said the offer was inadequate and further refused to even consider negotiations until after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. In response to Take-Two's latest annual shareholders meeting, which resulted in an affirmation of the current board and its strategy, EA reduced its offer to $25.74 per share, which it claimed was the result of a new incentive stock plan for management that was approved at the meeting.
But in an interview with the New York Times Bits blog, Zelnick claimed the outcome of the GTA launch was proof that he was right. "The critical and consumer response to Grand Theft Auto IV vindicates our strategy of waiting until the launch with regard to EA's offer," he said. At the time of the interview, Take-Two's share price had broken the $26 mark, peaking at $26.63 on the day. (As of 10 a.m. EDT on May 2, Take-Two stock is trading at $26.12.)
But EA spokesman Jeff Brown said the massive success of the game's launch was widely anticipated and accounted for in his company's offer. "We've seen a share price above and below our offer and it doesn't change anything," he said. "We knew the game would be an extraordinary success. All of that was factored into our offer of $2 billion."
Thus far, there has been no word on new talks between Take-Two and EA, or any other interested party, now that Grand Theft Auto IV has hit the streets.