Silly Rumor: Valve in Discussions with NCsoft and Nexon about Possible Merger

September 27, 2012 -

South Korean publication Joongang News (by way of GamesBeat) may be reading WAY TOO MUCH into a meeting between Nexon, NCsoft and Valve Software in South Korea this week.

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Epic Games Now Owns People Can Fly

August 13, 2012 -

Epic Games bought a majority stake in Bulletstorm and Painkiller developer People Can Fly in 2007, and as of today they own the company outright. Epic Games announced that it has purchased the Warsaw, Poland-based developer who is currently working on Gears of War Judgment, though for how much they did not disclose. Epic made the decision to buy the company last week.

On a related note, Adrian Chmielarz, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki have left the company. Epic's Mark Rein says that these departures will not affect the studio's ongoing projects in any way.

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BigWorld CEO Resigns Following $45 Million Buyout by Wargaming

August 10, 2012 -

The CEO of middleware company BigWorld has resigned from the company. Earlier in the week it was announced that World of Tanks developer Wargaming had bought the middleware provider for $45 million. CEO John De Margheriti, who was one of the founders of the company, will step down at the end of this week. He will be replaced by co-founder Steve Wang, who will report directly to executives at Wargaming. Despite the departure, De Margheriti's statement seems to indicate an amicable exit from BigWorld.

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Wargaming Acquires BigWorld for $45 Million

August 7, 2012 -

In a shocking turn of events, Wargaming has purchased video game middleware company BigWorld for $45 Million, according to a GamesBeat report. Wargaming is best known for its wildly popular online game World of Tanks. That game has more than 35 million registered users who can play for free or buy virtual goods to enhance their game experience if they so choose.

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EA's Firemint and IronMonkey Studios Merge to Become FireMonkeys

July 25, 2012 -

Electronic Arts has merged two of its mobile game development studios into one mega-studio in Australia. Firemint and IronMonkeys will be merged into a single studio now known as Firemonkeys studio.

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K2 Network Merges with Reloaded Games

July 5, 2012 -

In a deal financed by Arkenstone Investment, APB Reloaded creator Reloaded Games has merged with its parent company, K2 Network. The new company will operate under the Reloaded Games name.

"This merger represents the beginning of a new era for the company, as we evolve our two core businesses," said Reloaded Games CEO Bjorn Book-Larsson. "We have already signed contracts with independent developers to use our platform and portal for their free-to-play game distribution. We will announce those agreements in the next couple of weeks."

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Zynga Acquires Draw Something Developer OMGPOP

March 21, 2012 -

Zynga probably isn't all that embarrassed that OMGPOP's Draw Something beat their top game on Facebook this week - because they have bought OMGPOP. If you can't beat them, I guess you simply buy them out. The godfather of social gaming has made the company an offer it couldn't refuse, with some publications putting the deal in the $200 million ballpark. This deal is not all that surprising given the number of rumors circulating that Zynga executives were out to buy the company and take advantage of the Draw Something success.

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AT&T Merger Plans for T-Mobile Officially Dead

December 20, 2011 -

AT&T has officially announced that its merger plan with T-Mobile is pushing up daises, but it also takes a few shots at the government for running interference to kill the deal. The $39 billion deal with T-Mobile parent company - Germany-based Deutsche Telekom - fell apart after government regulators from the FCC and the Justice Department took AT&T to task over what the company claimed the deal would accomplish. The Justice Department sued to block the deal in late August, calling it anti-competitive and warning that  it could raise consumer prices.

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Judge Grants Delay for Antitrust Trial for AT&T T-Mobile Merger

December 12, 2011 -

It's a time-out for everyone when it comes to the drama over the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, as AT&T and the Justice Department have agreed that they will delay indefinitely the antitrust trial over the company’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA while the wireless carriers involved determine if it will ever even happen.

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FCC Wants Further Scrutiny of AT&T T-Mobile Merger

November 23, 2011 -

AT&T is finding that making the $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA a reality will be an uphill battle. The mobile broadband operator expected the FCC and other U.S. government agencies to green light the merger, but this week FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asked commissioners to send the proposal to a judge for a hearing and further scrutiny. FCC staff came to the conclusion that the proposed merger would "significantly diminish competition" and lead to job losses.

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DOJ Files Lawsuit to Block AT&T T-Mobile Merger

August 31, 2011 -

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of rival T-Mobile USA Inc. In its filing today in Federal Court the government said that the deal would "substantially lessen competition" in the wireless market. The government is seeking a declaration that AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile (owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, or DTE), would violate U.S. antitrust law.

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Law Firm Tackles AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

July 26, 2011 -

New York-based law firm Bursor & Fisher, P.A., has launched "Fight The Merger," an initiative to stop the proposed $39 billion merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. The firm, which has in the past sued both AT&T and T-Mobile separately on behalf of their customers, has signed up a few dozen AT&T customers to oppose the unpopular merger.

The web site for the initiative claims that a successful takeover would mean that AT&T and Verizon controlling around 80 percent of the market in the U.S. It further argues that the deal would hinder innovation and limit consumer protection from high prices. Sprint would be the only nationwide competition to AT&T and Verizon, and it has vocally opposed the merger as well.

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AT&T's Generous Contributions to Lawmaker-Linked Charities

June 1, 2011 -

How do you give money to politicians without actually giving them a big fat check directly? Write a check to a charity they are closely associated with. That is just what AT&T has been doing, and it is getting the attention of the public and media outlets.

AT&T has given a substantial amount of money to charities connected to several lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who just happens to be the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. A charity associated with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who just happens to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee. AT&T also gave a generous contribution to a charity associated with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the No. 3 House Democrat. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn also happens to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

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Perfect World to Acquire Cryptic Studios from Atari

May 31, 2011 -

China-based MMO giant Perfect World has entered into an agreement with Atari S.A. to acquire a hundred percent equity interest in Cryptic Studios, the developers of Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and City of Heroes. The California-based online game developer will cost Perfect World approximately EUR 35.0 million in cash, or $49.8 million. The deal is subject to working capital, adjustments as provided in the agreement, and other customary closing conditions. It is assumed that Perfect World does not gain control of the MMO's that Cryptic currently facilitates such as Champions Online or Star Trek Online.

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Heritage Foundation Wants Net Neutrality Rules Rescinded

February 3, 2011 -

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has issued a report urging congress to review what it calls 20 "unnecessary and harmful regulations" - three of which have to do with the FCC.

"This regulatory tide must be reversed," Heritage's Dianne Katz said. "Policy­makers should not just prevent harmful new regulations, but must repeal costly and unnecessary rules already on the books."

Ars Technica details the three items that Heritage Foundation is putting a bull’s-eye on: net neutrality regulations, media ownership rules, and the FCC's merger review authority.

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Yahoo Selling Off Game Business?

July 31, 2009 -

paidContent is reporting that Yahoo may soon sell off its Yahoo Games unit in an effort to cut costs.  HotJobs, Yahoo Small Business and Yahoo Personals are already on the sell list.

Yahoo Games averages 19.2 million unique visits per month and partnerships with PopCap, Gogii Games and Big Fish have helped to create a portfolio of hundreds of games. Yahoo’s fantasy sports business would not be included in the fire sale as it is part of Yahoo Sports.

While Yahoo doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation, paidContent’s sources say two potential buyers have already come calling.  Who might be interested in acquiring Yahoo Games?  Speculation runs from IGN Entertainment to Best Buy and GameStop but MSN Games and AOL are seen as the best candidates.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Yahoo have worked out a deal to merge their search engine businesses in a direct challenge to Google's dominance.

Via: GameDaily

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...

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Fun Facts From EA's Annual Report

May 22, 2009 -

The annual report of game publishing giant Electronic Arts landed in GP's inbox this morning. Typically, reading through these things is a surefire remedy for insomnia, but EA's contains a few tidbits worth mentioning.

1.) EA's failed bid to gobble up Take-Two cost the company $21 million:

As a result of the terminated discussions [with T2], we recognized $21 million in related costs consisting of legal, banking and other consulting fees...

2.) EA uses DRM (you knew that) and is watching for piracy online:

We typically distribute our PC products using copy protection technology, digital rights management technology or other technological protection measures to prevent piracy... We are actively engaged in enforcement and other activities to protect against unauthorized copying and piracy, including monitoring online channels for distribution of pirated copies, and participating in various industry-wide enforcement initiatives, education programs and legislative activity around the world.

3.) Only 3% of EA employees are unionized, and they all work for DICE:

As of March 31, 2009, we had approximately 9,100 regular, full-time employees, of whom over 5,100 were outside the United States... Approximately 3 percent of our employees, all of whom work for DICE, our Swedish development studio, are represented by a union, guild or other collective bargaining organization.

4.) GameStop and Wal-Mart are EA's biggest customers; each accounts for 14% of EA sales:

Worldwide, we had direct sales to two customers, GameStop Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which each represented approximately 14 percent of total net revenue for the fiscal year... the concentration of our sales in one, or a few, large customers could lead to a short-term disruption in our sales if one or more of these customers significantly reduced their purchases or ceased to carry our products...

5.) EA worries about game content legislation and its potential effect on sales:

Legislation is continually being introduced in the United States... for the establishment of government mandated rating requirements or restrictions on distribution of entertainment software based on content... Other countries have adopted or are considering laws regulating or mandating ratings requirements...  Adoption of government ratings system or restrictions... could harm our business by limiting the products we are able to offer to our customers...

6.) EA worries about falling victim to a Hot Coffee incident but has taken steps to prevent it from happening:

If one or more of our titles were found to contain hidden, objectionable content, our business could suffer... Retailers have on occasion reacted to the discovery of such hidden content by removing these games from their shelves, refusing to sell them, and demanding that their publishers accept them as product returns.

We have implemented preventative measures designed to reduce the possibility of hidden, objectionable content from appearing in the video games we publish. Nonetheless, these preventative measures are subject to human error, circumvention, overriding, and reasonable resource constraints.

Apple Aiming to Take a Big Bite of EA?

May 5, 2009 -

A brief item on TheStreet.com mentions that there are rumors afoot that Apple may be fueling a major move into gaming by attempting to acquire publishing giant Electronic Arts.

Commenting on the speculation, Edge Online notes that Apple has recently hired some execs with game biz background.

TechNewsWorld has more speculation on Apple's gaming ambitions.

UPDATE: VG247 reports that Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter pulled no punches in his assessment of the Apple-EA rumor:

To say that it is idiotic would be an insult to all idiots.

Pachter was also blunt in comments to Gamasutra:

Sounds retarded to me.

Apple could buy Warner Music for around $3 billion, and control 20 percent of all recorded music. That makes more sense to their current business model than buying EA for more than twice that, doesn't it?

I don't want to start a rumor, but want to point out that Apple doesn't own any entertainment content, so I don't know why they would feel compelled to enter a new business unrelated to their current product slate.

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Take-Two Buyout Rumors Return

April 13, 2009 -

Take-Two, which managed to avoid being assimilated by Electronic Arts in last year's long-running takeover saga, may be the target of a new buyout, according to Barron's.

The financial news service attributes a recent rise in the share price of TTWO to takeover rumors:

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) shares are up sharply for the second straight session on a revival of rumors that the video game company might be a takeover target... Last Thursday, the stock was hopping on what TheFlyOnTheWall.com [subscription req.] described as “renewed takeover chatter.” That apparently continues today.

As I post this, TTWO is up to 9.45, even though Wall Street itself is down.

UPDATE: Reached for comment by GamePolitics, Wedbush-Morgan financial analyst Michael Pachter pooh-poohed T2 takeover rumors:

I don’t see anyone making a move, given that management rejected EA’s $26 offer [last year]. It’s hard to see how anyone would pay more in this market, and I don’t know that Take-Two management would entertain an offer lower than $26 given their rejection of EA’s offer.

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UGO Acquires 1UP... Mass Layoffs... EGM Dead

January 7, 2009 -

As numerous sources are reporting, Hearst's UGO Entertainment has acquired 1UP from financially-troubled Ziff-Davis. Along with the 1UP sale, ZD is ceasing publication of Entertainment Gaming Monthly. Perhaps the best-known print publication for video game enthusiasts, EGM has been in operation since 1989.

Joystiq has a list of 1UP and EGM staffers who have lost their jobs. Among these are some well-known game journos, including James "Milkman" Mielke and Shane Bettenhausen.

Reactions have come swiftly and many are saddened by the layoffs:

-Kombo has a list of Twitter accounts wherein several former and current 1UP and EGM staffers are tweeting about the situation.

-Former Computer Gaming World (yet another defunct ZD mag) editor Jeff Green blogged:

A sad day for all the folks at 1up.com... my condolences go out to all those now looking for work. The list of people they decided to lay off is just crazy. Don't ask me to make any sense of it, because I don't see any.

R.I.P. 1up.com. They may keep your URL, there, but we all know better.

-God of War designer David Jaffe blogged as well:

My heart goes out to all those 1up and EGM folks who lost their jobs today. It's a real shame considering what an important part you guys/gals have played in the US gaming world all these years. Thanks for the many, many years of great, entertaining work.

-Valve Software tweeted a condolence:

Sorry to see things go down like that. Best of luck to the guys at EGM and GV

UPDATE: Jeff Green added a bit of a rant...

UPDATE 2: EA's Peter Moore weighs in:

I was saddened to see the announcement this afternoon that Electronic Gaming Monthly is closing its doors as  part of the Hearst acquisition of the Ziff Davis Media gaming assets. EGM has been a print publication mainstay of our industry for two decades, and while the real-time nature of web sites has put long-lead magazines and print media in general across most genres under real pressure, it is a sad day when such an important icon in gaming has to say goodbye.

 

 

 

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What if the EA - T2 Merger Had Gone Through? We Ask Pachter

December 22, 2008 -

As GamePolitics readers know, Electronic Arts pursued the acquisition of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive for the better part of 2008.

Timing, as they say, is everything.

The deal ultimately fell through when EA walked away from the table in mid-September.  Since then the global economy has gone into the toilet and the supposedly recession-proof video game industry has shown that it really isn't.

But when EA made its offer to acquire T2 at $25.74 per share, the economy had not yet tanked. No one even dreamed of a Wall Street bailout, much less a potential bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

What if the deal had gone through, obligating EA to lay out huge piles of cash? Would it be like burning your savings on a new car and finding out the next day that your hours were being cut back at your job? Since the merger fell apart, EA has definitely hit a rough patch, laying off a thousand workers and shuttering some of its game development studios.

As for Take-Two, their stock will open south of $9 this morning. Since EA bailed on the merger, TTWO has plummeted, losing about 2/3 of its equity value in 90 days.

From here it seems like T2 would have been better off if the deal had gone through, but EA would have been in worse shape. But we're not experts, so we put the question to Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. Here's what Pachter told us:

[My answer is] totally speculative.  Had EA completed the deal, the TTWO shareholders at the time would have benefited, but other than Oppenheimer (who has been listed as a large shareholder the entire time), it's hard to say that there are many of those other shareholders still around.  I think that many of the shareholders who bought to take advantage of EA's offer were sellers when the offer was withdrawn, so only a small number of current shareholders, including Oppenheimer, were actually involved in the stock back then.

EA would be a mess had it completed the deal.  In addition to its own restructuring (which is just getting underway), the company would have been faced with re-signing the Housers and with cutting significant costs out of Take-Two in order to fully achieve synergies from the deal. 

I don't think a low cash balance [due to the T2 purchase] would be particularly relevant, since EA has a line of credit and is not burning significant cash, but it would have forced decisive action.

Notwithstanding, this is purely speculative.  I think EA would be a stronger company if combined with Take-Two, as the latter company has several valuable franchises and a combination would have given EA a near monopoly in sports.  Had they signed the Housers, EA would have been well-positioned to develop incremental new IP, and would have had one of the strongest franchises around in GTA.

But it didn't happen, and doesn't look like it will over the near term

EA's Bid to Buy T2 Figures in Wall Street Insider Trading Charges

December 18, 2008 -

According to the Dow-Jones Newswire, federal investigators charged four men with today insider stock trading. One of the transactions named in the indictments was EA's bid to acquire T2 earlier this year.

No one from either Take-Two Interactive or Electronic Arts has been charged and there is no indication that the publishers had any inkling of the illegal stock trades. If government regulators are correct, however, information leaks from the Brunswick Group, a P.R. firm working on behalf of Take-Two, contributed to the crime. From the Dow-Jones report:

Four people were charged criminally Thursday in an insider trading scheme involving information about mergers or stock buybacks obtained from a Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. broker's wife who worked at communications firm Brunswick Group LLC...

 

According to court documents, they were among a group of clients and friends tipped by Matthew C. Devlin, a Lehman Brothers broker, about 12 planned deals before their public announcements between 2005 and 2008...

 

Devlin allegedly obtained the information from his wife, who worked at communications firm Brunswick Group, according to court filings. The deals included... Electronic Arts Inc.'s (ERTS) hostile bid earlier this year for Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO)...

 

Devlin has been charged criminally and in the SEC case... [other defendants]... referred to Devlin or his wife as the "golden goose," according to court documents.

The Guardian reports that there is no suggestion that Devlin's wife, Nina, a partner at Brunswick, knew of her husband's alleged stock market manipulations.

Disney Might Buy EA, Says Wall Street Journal

December 11, 2008 -

Has the hunter become the hunted?

Electronic Arts, which pursued GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive for much of 2008, may now be an acquisition target of Disney.

According to financial website The Motley Fool, the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column suggested yesterday that Disney might be eyeing EA. The WSJ apparently based their speculation on comments made by Disney's Chief Financial Officer during a conference call on Tuesday. From the Fool:

Asked if Disney's focus would be on developing in-house games over buying more developers, [CFO Tom] Staggs responded, "I don't want you to conclude that those are in the long term mutually exclusive." He went on to say that a "strategic and attractive" purchase would be "a possibility" for the family entertainment giant.

Did he say Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS)? No. However, a combination of EA's battered share price and Disney's desire to ramp up its gaming presence dovetail nicely in the rumor mill.

The Motley Fool offers five reasons why a Disney takeover of EA makes sense:

  • Disney has acquired game companies before (Avalanche Studios, Club Penguin)
  • EA Sports and Disney's ESPN would have synergy
  • Disney's MMOs haven't worked out so far, but EA has Warhammer
  • Racing is a major theme is Disney's films and parks; EA has Need For Speed
  • Convergence of Disney's theme parks with EA's strong IP

Still, The Motley Fool views the chances of a Disney-EA deal as slim. And, it's pretty clear that, when it talks about acquisitions, family-friendly Disney isn't thinking of Take-Two and GTA.

49 comments

Wall Street Journal Compares Crooked Ill Guv's Mistakes to Failed EA-T2 Deal

December 10, 2008 -

Yesterday, GamePolitics pointed out the hypocrisy of indicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who publicly fretted about Grand Theft Auto's cartoon crime but himself managed to carry out what the U.S. Attorney alleges was a political corruption crime spree.

The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal blog has come up with a different video game angle on the Blagojevich affair, remarking that the disgraved Guv should have paid more attention to this year's failed EA-Take-Two merger:

Before Illinois Gov. Blagojevich allegedly tried to auction off President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder, he might have taken a closer look at the state of deal making this year–which would have told him it never would have worked.

 

Deal Journal compiled some lessons from this year’s M&A market that might have kept Blogajevich from following temptation into a federal indictment.

Don’t assume you are the only game in town: If prosecutors are right, Blagojevich, accused of looking for either lucre or favors in return for Obama’s Senate seat, made an oft-seen mistake: he believed he had more leverage than he did. Take-Two Interactive Software–maker of the Grand Theft Auto videogame–made the same mistake when it pushed rival Electronic Arts to bid up, up, up for the company. But EA tired of being toyed with and walked away.

The WSJ also jokingly relates Blagojevich's relentless pursuit of graft to several other non-game biz deals.

Weakened Eidos in Play? ...EA, Ubisoft Said to be Circling

December 1, 2008 -

SCi, the parent company of Tomb Raider publisher Eidos, is apparently a takeover target.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail reports that Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are both considering an acquisition of the troubled firm.

Given that SCi is on hard times, EA and Ubi are no doubt enticed by the prospect of picking up Eidos's popular Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises on the cheap. From the Daily Mail story:

[The merger talk] follows a nightmare year for the firm in which its losses have quadrupled and the share price has slumped 92 per cent... From a peak of £1billion at the height of the dotcom boom it is worth just £50million today... As recently as a year ago the games developer was worth more than £600million.

But a series of self-inflicted wounds coupled with the precipitous slide in the stock market have conspired to drag the shares down from a 12 month peak of 243p to just 18½p yesterday...

The source said the suitors have been waiting to see if SCi would deliver the latest Lara Croft game, which has been delayed, but finally came out this week in time for Christmas.

Via: Edge Online

 

26 comments

Mad Money's Cramer Adds Take-Two's Zelnick to Wall of Shame

October 21, 2008 -

Frenetic money man Jim Cramer named Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick to the "Wall of Shame" on his popular Mad Money program yesterday.

Cramer blasted Zelnick and a pair of CEOs from other companies for failing to accept takeover bids and then seeing their stock values collapse.

As has been widely reported on GamePolitics and other sites, Zelnick rejected a $25.74 acquisistion offer from Electronic Arts earlier this year. EA eventually walked away from the deal. The Grand Theft Auto publisher's stock (TTWO) will open at 13.15 this morning. Among Cramer's trashing of the T2 boss:

[EA's offer was] an offer no sane man can refuse. But Strauss Zelnick, Take-two's chairman did just that...

Welcome to the Wall of Shame, Strauss Zelnick. You managed to take a sure thing, a $25 stock and turn it into a $13 one. That takes talent.

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EA CEO: Half of Spore DRM Protesters Were Pirates

October 15, 2008 -

Over at Gamasutra, Leigh Alexander serves up a revealing interview with John Riccitiello.

The Electronic Arts CEO dishes on the Spore DRM controversy, EA's abortive merger attempt with Take-Two, and EA's reputation in the gaming community.

Most noteworthy are Riccitiello's comments on the furor whipped up by Spore's much-maligned copy protection scheme:

I personally hate DRM. I don’t like the whole concept; it can be a little bit cumbersome. But I don’t like locks on my door, and I don’t like to use keys in my car... I’d like to live in a world where there are no passports. Unfortunately, we don’t – and I think the vast majority of people voted with their wallets and went out and bought Spore...

 

Everyone gets that we need some level of protection, or we’re going to be in business for free... [But it was] a minority of [anti-DRM] people that orchestrated a great PR program. They picked the highest-profile game they could find. I respect them for the success of their movement.

I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn’t understand. If I’d had a chance to have a conversation with them, they’d have gotten it... There are different ways to do DRM; the most successful is what WoW does. They just charge you by the month.
 

130 comments

Take-Two Says it Will Remain Independent

October 2, 2008 -

With EA out of the picture, Take-Two has apparently decided to go it alone.

That word comes by way of a press release issued today by the Grand Theft Auto publisher. Citing "detailed discussions with various interested parties over the last five months," T2 has concluded that stockholders will be best served by the company staying its course.

Chairman Strauss Zelnick is quoted in the press release:

Take-Two’s Board of Directors and management have a clear mandate from stockholders to maximize value. We are strongly positioned creatively, financially and competitively to benefit from the opportunities we see in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry.

CEO Ben Feder invoked the success of GTA franchise and cited the rest of T2's catalogue:

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, as well as 15 other wholly owned brands with sales of more than one million units each.

3 comments

Analyst: Take-Two NOT the New Yahoo, Zelnick Secure at Top

September 17, 2008 -

Following the collapse of a proposed merger between Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive, GamePolitics wondered aloud yesterday whether Take-Two might be the second coming of Yahoo. That is, a company which should have accepted a reasonable acquisition offer and saw stockholder equity plummet following its rejection.

Analyst Doug Creutz (left) of Cowen and Co. thinks not. Here's what he told GP when asked if T2 was following in Yahoo's ill-considered footsteps:

I’d say no. YHOO [Yahoo] is clearly a company in decline, with an entrenched management. TTWO [Take-Two] is a company with arguably improving business fundamentals and a management team that I believe was willing to deal at the right price. I also think that MSFT [Microsoft] shareholders were not excited by the prospect of a YHOO acquisition whereas most ERTS [Electronic Arts] shareholders wanted the TTWO deal to happen at a reasonable price.

Nor did Creutz believe that T2 Chairman Strauss Zelnick was in jeopardy in the wake of EA's withdrawal from negotiations:

I don’t think so. Any shareholders who wanted to get out of the stock at $26 (EA’s best offer) had ample opportunity. Anyone who was holding out for a higher price feels the same way as Zelnick – no deal at $26. As long as the business turnaround continues then I think Zelnick is safe.

10 comments

Is Take-Two the New Yahoo?

September 16, 2008 -

In failing to accept EA's buyout offer, has Take-Two become the new Yahoo?

Is Strauss Zelnick's position as chairman in jeopardy?

Readers may recall that Yahoo spurned a series of acquisition offers by Microsoft over a five month period earlier this year. If that sounds familiar, Take-Two spurned several EA tender offers over roughly the same time frame.

Microsoft's' interest in Yahoo drove the search firm's stock higher, to the 30 range; Yahoo ultimately stunned Wall Street by refusing MS' 33 per share bid. EA's interest in T2 did the same, pushing TTWO at times into the 26+ range. EA's 25.74 offer remained on the table for months, ridiculed by T2 as undervaluing the GTA publisher.

When MS became frustrated and pulled out, Yahoo stock tanked. Today it wil open at 18.27. On Sunday's news that EA was bailing, T2 plunged 5 points yesterday. Admittedly, some of that might have been helped along by the most brutal day on Wall Street since the 9/11 aftermath.

So why would Zelnick's job be on the line?

It probably isn't - yet. But T2 investors who saw the value of  their shares jump nearly ten points on EA's offer have now given all of those paper profits back with EA's withdrawal. The stock is back where it started. Moreover, a sweetheart deal that would have enriched Zelnick and his management team in the event of an acquisition never sat well with EA. It actually caused EA to lower its tender offer by about 1/4 point and caused bad blood between EA and T2 execs from the get-go.

Now that EA is gone, Zelnick faces some challenges. GTA IV profits are slowing. The Houser brothers will become free agents in February. If they walk, T2 becomes less of a company than it is now. If they stay, T2 will have to pay them a bigger slice of the profits.

We asked Wedbush-Morgan analyst Michael Pachter whether Zelnick might be in jeopardy. His thoughts:

Jeopardy is a strong word. I think that shareholders may be upset that he didn't accept the $26 offer when he had it in hand.  He has some time to demonstrate that there are other interested parties; if he can produce them, I don't think he is in trouble at all.  If he can't, I think that the number of unhappy shareholders will increase.

Financial website The Motley Fool does not see T2 as the new Yahoo, however:

This isn't Microhoo revisited. Take-Two's fundamentals have actually improved since EA went public with its unsolicited offer for Take-Two at $25.74 a share. Grand Theft Auto IV broke records. The BioShock franchise has a sequel on the way, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski on board to give the property the Hollywood theatrical treatment.

 

This is why I believe that Take-Two will bounce back from this a lot quicker than Yahoo! did after its prolonged courtship with Microsoft came up empty... Take-Two shareholders can't blame executives, because those investors perpetually turned down EA's tender offers. The company can also point to its improving fundamentals.

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james_fudgeprh99: Whether you agree with the article or not, fighting alleged censorship with censorship is hella lame10/02/2014 - 4:27am
james_fudgewhoever made that decision at Intel will regret it later on down the road. Boycotts are tricky business.10/02/2014 - 4:26am
prh99The unflattering characterization "They don’t know how to dress or behave." & "‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction..." probably didn't help.10/02/2014 - 1:52am
prh99Probably not many as it was purely a vindictive move. The headline alone was plenty of ammo, but for those that did read and complain..10/02/2014 - 1:42am
Andrew EisenI wonder how many of those who complain about that article actually read past the headline.10/02/2014 - 1:37am
prh99http://intel.ly/1tjh1AH http://bit.ly/1rGPHOY http://intel.ly/Zu6go9 it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
Andrew EisenWow! Intel dropped Gamasutra due to GameJournoPros? Over Matt Matthews? The only Gamasutra guy in the group? Who hasn't written a single thing about #GamerGate at the site? Where did you read that?10/02/2014 - 12:32am
Neo_DrKefka#WriteAKotakuArticle "#GamerGate is responsible for breaking millions of Intel powered macbooks after angry SWJ hipsters slam them shut" or "How Toxic Processors from Intel causes sexism. "10/02/2014 - 12:15am
Neo_DrKefkaSo Intel has dropped Gamesutra due to there support of your Gaming News Cabal Fudge. Anti GamerGate article soon? Or like your e-mails are you hoping this narrative dies down soon?10/02/2014 - 12:14am
Andrew EisenWell, time to eat some dinner and work on the Hyrule Warriors guide until bedtime!10/02/2014 - 12:11am
Andrew EisenJust finished my stream. That... could have gone better. Technical issues prevented me from playing a console game so I instead played and bitched about The Walking Dead for two hours. Oh well, the folks watching still seemed to enjoy it.10/02/2014 - 12:09am
Matthew Wilsonwe all know valve can not cout to 3.10/02/2014 - 12:08am
MechaTama31Who cares? Gimme Portal 3!10/01/2014 - 9:38pm
quiknkoldAndrew : Mostly I decided there were better people who could explain what was going on, or fight any battles that may come up. so I decided not to talk about it anymore.10/01/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI don't recall you promising that. GamerGate is not a taboo discussion here. Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting.10/01/2014 - 8:47pm
quiknkoldI know I promised to not talk about Gamergate again, but Intel just pulled sponsership from Gamasutra over it http://techraptor.net/2014/10/01/gamasutra-intel/10/01/2014 - 8:40pm
quiknkoldP.T. is a game I just cannot play alone. I puss out hard on it. need somebody with me when I play that. Kojima was right. it is Pants Shittingly Scary10/01/2014 - 6:17pm
quiknkold@james_fudge not playin all the way through. P.T, Silent Hill(Not sure which), Resident Evil Gamecube Remake, Alien Isolation, Ghostbusters, Outlast, Super Castlevania 410/01/2014 - 6:04pm
james_fudgeI wish I could like that last shout.10/01/2014 - 5:48pm
 

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