As expected, Electronic Arts has once again extended its deadline for Take-Two Interactive stockholders to tender their shares at $25.74. The new deadline is August 18th.
EA is apparently beginning to make some progress in its bid to acquire T2. The game publisher says that 11,741,339 shares have been tendered under the offer, nearly double the amount turned in when the previous deadline expired in late June. That is almost certainly related to T2’s sagging share price of late. The stock has been trading below EA’s offer price, making the deal more attractive to shareholders. TTWO closed on Friday at 25.04
This morning’s EA press release links the extension to the Federal Trade Commission’s review of potential anti-trust implications:
Extending the tender offer allows the FTC review process to continue. The proposed transaction is still subject to certain conditions that include regulatory approval. EA retains the right to terminate the offer if the conditions are not satisfied.
Coming up later today: Take-Two’s obligatory press release explaining why, in its view, EA’s offer is a bad deal for shareholders.
UPDATE: Wow, that didn’t take long. In a press release which followed EA’s by less than an hour, Take-Two, as expected, slams EA’s offer. T2 chairman Strauss Zelnick alludes to "multiple" suitors, but does not name them (Activision? Ubisoft?):
We are fully engaged in a formal process to evaluate strategic alternatives that have the potential to deliver greater value than EA’s inadequate offer. As part of this process, we continue to engage in meaningful discussions with multiple parties, a number of whom have been conducting due diligence.
UPDATE: In a lively interview wiith VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi, EA CEO John Riccitiello touches on the T2 deal:
Having clever verbal sword play about Take-Two doesn’t really matter. I’m not really playing for a headline in the New York Times…
I don’t think we’ve played a poker hand. We have expressed our interest. We have made a public bid. We are in the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review. All of the information has been disclosed. We’re playing it to the way we’ve said we would play it. There have basically been three moves and there have 6,000 articles on it. It’s sort of amusing. I feel a little bit like those strobe light things where it looks like a guy is moving a lot. The flash goes off but the body doesn’t move. Every time a flash goes off, somebody writes a story on it. To be honest with you, the last time there was news was a couple of months ago.