It's official - Grand Theft Auto V will not be released under the Electronic Arts brand.
EA has just issued a press release announcing that it has decided not to continue its lengthy pursuit of Take-Two Interactive.
The two sides have been talking, but those negotiations appear to have broken down. At this point it's unclear what made EA decide to give up its nearly seven-month long bid to acquire T2. From the EA release:
Electronic Arts... today announced that while EA continues to have a high regard for Take-Two's creative teams and products, after careful consideration, including a management presentation and review of other due diligence materials provided by Take-Two... EA has decided not to make a proposal to acquire Take-Two and has terminated discussions with Take-Two.
EA CEO John Riccitiello (right) commented:
EA is tracking toward a record breaking year. We're launching 15 new games including award-winners like SPORE, Dead Space and Mirror's Edge, great new titles from the Sims, new family titles with Hasbro, and the highest quality slate of EA SPORTS titles on this generation of consoles. We're also expanding beyond our core business with a series of direct-to-consumer launches including Warhammer Online.
UPDATE: Take-Two has issued a press release of its own, with chairman Strauss Zelnick (left) saying:
We remain focused on creating value for our stockholders and our consumers. This has been our goal since EA launched its conditional and unsolicited bid six months ago, a bid which was repeatedly rejected by our stockholders. As part of that commitment, we remain actively engaged in discussions with other parties in the context of our formal process to consider strategic alternatives. We're especially proud of the success we've enjoyed over the past eighteen months and we remain confident in our ability to generate value for stockholders.
GP: Expect T2 stock to take a big hit when the markets open in the morning. TTWO closed at 21.65 on Friday amid expectations that an EA-T2 deal would get done somewhere north of the 25.74 tender price that EA offered earlier. Prior to EA's expression of interest, T2 had been trading in the 17 range. With EA now out of the picture, T2 shares will likely be heading south.