Riccitiello: Take-Two Bid Focused On Holiday Season, Not GTA IV

Don't believe what the timing tells you - EA's bid for Take-Two was never about Grand Theft Auto IV. That's what EA CEO John Riccitiello told an audience of investors during William Blair & Company's annual stock conference, where he was a speaker today.

"For clarity's sake, I think you've got a slight mis-remembering of what we said," Riccitiello told an audience member who asked about capitalizing on GTA IV's release value. "We were extremely explicit that there was no possibility whatsoever that we would be able to acquire the company or close the transaction prior to the release of GTA IV."

"What we said is we wanted to close the transaction in time to affect holiday sales for some of the games like Midnight Club, catalog for GTA and others. And so the reason we're continuing to extend it, that was our plan all along and that was the way we described it at the time."

The questioner was probably prompted to the question by EA's recurring comments about the time sensitivity of their offer, but Riccitiello said that "the depreciating nature of the asset was not necessarily about GTA."

"It is that one more holiday period where we can sell more puts money onto the bottom line."