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Take-Two opts to remain independent

After facing a hostile bid from EA and entertaining talks with other potential suitors, game maker announces that it will pursue continued growth on its own.

After fighting off an unsolicited buyout offer and reviewing its options with other potential suitors over the past five months, Take-Two Interactive Software announced on Thursday it has decided to remain an independent company.

Take-Two, publisher of the popular video game franchise Grand Theft Auto and other titles, said it has completed its strategic review and determined that it would like to continue operating as an independent entity, following a couple of strong quarterly results.

"Take-Two's recent performance demonstrates our potential to create value for the long term. We have delivered solid financial results and expanded our portfolio of leading titles, which includes the powerful Grand Theft Auto franchise," Ben Feder, Take-Two chief executive, said in a statement.

He added that Take-Two also has no debt and has yet to draw on a $140 million credit line, giving the company financial flexibility.

Nonetheless, Wall Street has yet to applaud the company, since Electronic Arts withdrew its unsolicited $2 billion buyout offer in mid-September. After that announcement, Take-Two shares plummeted nearly 25 percent to end the day at $16.57 per share. The stock closed on Wednesday at $15.93 a share.

"Take-Two's board of directors and management have a clear mandate from stockholders to maximize value," Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two's chairman, said in a statement.

EA went public with an unsolicited buyout offer for the company in February at $26 a share and then launched into a hostile bid in March. In August, EA dropped its hostile tender offer, and the companies entered negotiations up until several weeks ago, when EA stepped away from the deal.