Short-term investors take aim at EA's offer

While EA takes its buyout offer to Take-Two shareholders, newcomers to the shareholder group consider ways to boost their return if the deal goes through.

Richard Defendorf Staff Writer

The drama surrounding Electronic Arts' attempt to buy Take-Two Interactive is, increasingly, playing out like a combination action-adventure and shooter game.

As noted in a story published Friday in The New York Times, Take-Two has become a moving target not only because of maneuvering by the company's officers but because of changes in its shareholder group.

The offer EA presented on Thursday directly to Take-Two shareholders--$26 per share, or about $2 billion--is essentially the same one it offered the video game publisher in February. But as the Times story points out, Take-Two's shareholder population has in the past month changed to include many short-term stakeholders who bought its stock with the intention of turning a quick profit should the deal go through and who, perhaps, will try to force EA to increase its offer. Take-Two shares were trading at $25.10 as of early Friday.

Take-Two said its directors will consider the offer over a 10-day period, but also said it won't negotiate the offer until after the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, on April 29. EA's chief executive, John Riccitiello, says it isn't practical to wait until the end of next month because EA needs all the time it can get to absorb Take-Two and make use of its assets in advance of the holiday season.

Hmm...maybe this falls into the massively multiplayer genre.