EA's Deadline Passes; Wait, What?

Anticlimactic as it is, your humble editor still missed this yesterday; EA's deadline for its offer to acquire Take-Two has passed. Literally nothing happened. No comments from either side, no offers to raise the share purchase price or extend the deadline, no Mark-Gastineau sack-dances by Take-Two's board - in short, no comment from either side. All we can deduce is that fewer than 50 percent of Take-Two shareholders liked the bid of $25.74 per share. And since the stock closed at $27.10 Friday, that's hardly a shock.

So ... now what? Analysts quoted in a Friday San Francisco Chronicle story still think the deal will get done. Michael Pachter cited the Wall Street Journal story that places Rockstar's Dan Houser in the pivot, as his contract with Take-Two is up next year and he's open to EA ownership. Pachter's reasoning: Houser would broker the deal in hopes of being rewarded by his new employer. EA talks about how GTA IV's success was already built into its offer to Take-Two, so surely GTA IV's success is already built into Take-Two's relationship with Houser. A grateful EA might be willing to throw in a premium Houser couldn't negotiate otherwise.

Even though the deadline was not extended, as some suspected, that by itself doesn't preclude another offer. Weekend deadline negotiations are usually for labor unions and management. They certainly aren't covered by amateurs like yours truly, or the Agence France Presse writer who called the game "Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City Stories." We're not that well sourced. Once the regular writers and analysts get back in the office this week, someone will say something.

Deadline Passes in EA Bid to Buy Take-Two [AFP/Yahoo News, via Joystiq]