Take-Two Interactive, the publisher behind Rockstar Games’ hugely successful Grand Theft Auto franchise, has turned down a $2 billion buyout offer from Electronic Arts. According to Daily Variety, the deal on the table would combine EA and Take-Two, which is also known for sports games and the award-winning new sci-fi shooter BioShock.
Merging with successful game developers is a trend among publishers, with Activision in the process of joining with Vivendi Games’ Blizzard, creator of the hit World of Warcraft MMOG, to form Activision Blizzard. Variety reports that the new entity will be valued at approximately $18.9 billion, while the EA/Take-Two teaming would be worth around $17 billion. EA is apparently trying to seal the deal before Take-Two releases Grand Theft Auto IV in April, but Take-Two will only entertain offers until after the title’s debut.
Take-Two’s leadership believes that EA is underestimating the company’s value by asserting that it doesn’t have much to offer outside of the Grand Theft Auto series. EA had better luck last year in acquiring VG Holding Corp., the parent company of leading video game development studios BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. BioWare recently developed Mass Effect, which was published by Microsoft in November, and is in development on a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios’ latest projects include the open-world games Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur.