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EA makes $2 billion offer for Take-Two

Can’t say I saw this one coming, though I’m not entirely shocked considering EA recently shelled out an estimated $860 million for BioWare/Pandemic.

That said, this move would be TERRIBLE for gamers everywhere. Hopefully Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar Games, 2K Games and 2K Sports, can stand strong against EA’s takeover attempt.

Here are the details, courtesy of our fine friends at The Associated Press: 

SAN FRANCISCO — Electronic Arts Inc. said Sunday it was pushing ahead with a bid to take over upstart gaming rival Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., despite rebuffs from the smaller company.

EA said in a statement that it was making an all-cash bid of $26 per share, or about $2 billion, for New York-based Take-Two, known for its “Grand Theft Auto” franchise.

EA, the world’s largest independent video game publisher, said it was releasing details of the proposal to get the attention of Take-Two shareholders after Take-Two’s board turned down its second bid in two weeks. The offer represents a 64 percent premium over Take-Two’s closing stock price of $15.83 on Feb. 15, the last trading day before Redwood City-based EA made its proposal. Take-Two shares closed at $17.36 Friday.

“There can be no certainty that in the future EA or any other buyer would pay the same high premium we are offering today,”  EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello wrote in a letter to Take-Two released Sunday. Riccitiello added that Take-Two’s quick acceptance of the offer would mean EA could put its marketing muscle behind the eagerly awaited release of  “Grand Theft Auto IV,”  set for April 29.

 In its response, Take-Two called the EA offer a “highly opportunistic” attempt to take advantage of the game’s upcoming release. “Electronic Arts’ proposal provides insufficient value to our shareholders and comes at absolutely the wrong time,” Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said in a statement Sunday.

 Zelnick said EA rejected Take-Two’s offer to resume discussions of the takeover bid the day after “Grand Theft Auto IV” hit store shelves. EA said it offered $26 per share Tuesday after Take-Two rejected a $25-per-share bid earlier this month.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.