Electronic Arts’ increasingly murky bid for Take-Two is now turning opaque: The company just told the SEC that it has filed a confidentiality agreement with Take-Two (TTWO) and that we’re not going to hear anything more about the merger/takeover/whatever talks that the two may or may not be having. Full text below, but first a two-minute recap for anyone still paying attention:
- In February, EA (ERTS) offered $2 billion for Take-Two, a huge premium to its then-market value.
- Take-Two rejected the offer because it didn’t take into account what a huge hit GTAIV would be, and that once the game came out in the spring, investors would come to their senses and bid up TTWO shares.
- GTA IV came out in the spring and was a huge hit. No one bid up TTWO shares.
- Last week EA formally let its offer for Take-Two lapse, then said it’d be happy to talk to Take-Two — though it would probably want to pay less than its original offer. Take-Two said it’d be happy to chat, as well — though it would need to see more than EA’s original offer.
- No other bidders have been publicly identified for TTWO. And now the government has signed off on any potential antitrust issues. So there’s no reason these two shouldn’t be able to work out a deal — especially now that they don’t have to tell the rest of us about it.
Filing text follows:
On August 25, 2008, Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”) and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (“Take-Two”) entered into the confidentiality agreement contemplated by the letter of August 17, 2008 from Strauss Zelnick, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Take-Two to John Riccitiello, Chief Executive Officer of EA, and the letter of August 18 from Mr. Riccitiello to Mr. Zelnick. The terms of the confidentiality agreement prohibit each of EA and Take-Two from, among other things, publicly disclosing the status or terms of any discussions or negotiations between EA and Take-Two unless EA or Take-Two notifies the other that it is terminating discussions. As a result, EA does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the status of any discussions or negotiations with Take-Two unless and until discussions between EA and Take-Two have been terminated or such parties have entered into a transaction. As previously disclosed, EA now requires due diligence to support any proposal to acquire Take-Two and there can be no assurance that any proposal, negotiations or transaction will result.
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