The New York Times' Deal Book blog speculates today that Activision Blizzard may be eyeing an acquisition of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive.
Electronic Arts, of course, has been chasing T2 for most of 2008 and has a tender offer outstanding. EA's problem, however, is that T2 shareholders just aren't jumping on board so far.
Analyst Mike Hickey of Janco Partners told the Deal Book:
We absolutely believe Activision will take a look at Take-Two. If a competitor is for sale, you take a look, and if EA is your real rival, why wouldn't you stir the pot a little bit?
However, UBS Securities analyst Ben Schachter pooh-pooh any such deal:
It is highly unlikely that Activision would try to outbid EA. They have enough on their plate at the moment.
The oft-quoted Michael Pachter of Wedbush-Morgan had his own opinion:
There are only three players involved — EA, the FTC and the arbs. Is EA likely to withdraw or lower their offer? No, because they want Take-Two. The odds of the FTC not approving the deal on market concentration is virtually zero. And if the arbs want to sell the stock, they'll sell the stock — they don't care what [T2 chairman] Strauss Zelnick thinks the stock is worth.