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EA Borrows $1 Billion For Hostile Take-Two Bid

by Dave Parrack

Electronic Arts desperately wants to acquire Take-Two Interactive. It already wanted it before Grand Theft Auto IV was released but now that the game has made $500 million in its first week on sale, and proved once again the value of the franchise, EA are even keener.

Take-Two, who publish the Grand Theft Auto games, have already rejected a bid from EA back in February. So now EA are going hostile, and have offered the shareholders a $2.1 billion all cash offer. The shareholders have until May 16th to consider the bid and decide if it’s enough to warrant a mass sell out or not.

The problem is, EA doesn’t actually have $2.1 billion in the bank, and has had to take out a $1 billion loan to cover the costs of the investment if and when it happens. The huge financing will come from Morgan Stanley, the bank of Nova Scotia, and several other financial organisations.

Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter tried to explain to GamePolitics what EA is playing at by putting itself in to debt for this deal. He told them:

“It is something that should be expected. After [the acquisition of] Pandemic/BioWare, EA has only around $1.7 billion in available cash… The Take-Two deal is around $2.1 billion… so they’re short. They also probably need around $400 million in available cash for working capital needs, so they need to raise around $800 million to complete the deal. The extra $200 million is just a cushion, although I suppose it could be construed as how much higher they’re willing to go [for Take-Two]…”

“The timing isn’t particularly unusual, a bit later than I would have thought, as they should have started the process on March 13 (when they went hostile). However, I have no experience in credit markets like we’re experiencing now, so maybe it’s normal to take 8 weeks to get something like this done. It’s also possible that they waited for their new CFO [Eric Brown] to start in order to allow him to negotiate terms…”

“I would not read any significance into the filing, other than to say that if they want to raise their offer price [for Take Two], they will likely need a higher credit line…”

It may that the hostile bid wasn’t actually needed and that Take-Two only faltered on accepting the first offer because of its proximity to the launch of GTA 4. It was quite clear that EA chose their timing so that they could make the most of the release of the huge multi-format game which was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 on April 29th.

It seems highly likely that a deal will now go through, one way or another, and at an increased price. But is that a good thing for gamers? For starters, EA already own too much of the games industry, and by soaking up another publisher, they will have even more control over the business side of video games.

Also, there’s some fears that they could ruin the Grand Theft Auto series. So just in case, I’d advise you all to make the most of the quality of GTA 4, it may be the last great Grand Theft Auto game you play.

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One Response to “EA Borrows $1 Billion For Hostile Take-Two Bid”

  1. Cath Says:

    Let’s hope that the growing monopoly does not produce repetative storylines, added costs to gamers, and just flat out staleness.

    Oh no pun or reference to the game flatout intended.

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