EA, Take-Two in confidential talks

The rival game makers sign a confidentiality agreement after agreeing to hold private talks about a potential transaction.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil

Rival game makers Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive Software signed a confidentiality agreement after agreeing to hold private talks about a potential transaction, EA announced Monday in a regulatory filing.

EA, which had unsuccessfully courted Take-Two for six months, announced last week that it was abandoning its $2 billion hostile bid after Take-Two agreed to present its three-year product release schedule and financial forecasts to EA.

"As a result, EA does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the status of any discussions or negotiations with Take-Two unless and until discussions between EA and Take-Two have been terminated or such parties have entered into a transaction," EA said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The announcement is the latest twist in EA's long-running but oft-rebuffed effort to acquire Take-Two.

EA took its buyout offer public for the publisher of the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto franchise in February at $26 a share after Take-Two spurned an earlier attempt at a friendly takeover at $25 a share. Take-Two rejected the $26 offer as too low, and EA launched its hostile bid in March. EA subsequently reduced the offer to $25.74 a share. But repeated extensions and offer revisions seemed to hurt the company's credibility.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission said it had conducted an investigation of a merger of the companies, but said no further action was required, and closed the investigation.