EA drops pursuit of Grand Theft Auto publisher

EA (Electronic Arts) is giving up plans to acquire rival computer games software company Take-Two Interactive, publisher of Grand Theft Auto, and has terminated merger discussions with the company, it said Sunday.

The decision was made "after careful consideration, including a management presentation and review of other due diligence materials," EA said in a brief statement.

EA, which owns some of the most popular sports games franchises in the industry, originally offered $2 billion for Take-Two in February of this year. At the time Take-Two was preparing to release "Grand Theft Auto IV," the latest in its popular game series, and rejected EA's bid as "inadequate in multiple respects."

In August, EA let its tender offer for Take-Two expire, but the company remained interested in an acquisition. It accepted an offer by Take-Two to hear a presentation from the company explaining why it thinks EA's bid undervalues it.

The decision to walk away from acquisition talks apparently reflects in part what EA heard in that presentation.

But EA's decision doesn't mean that Take-Two won't be getting swallowed up by another games maker anytime soon.

The company, "remain[s] actively engaged in discussions with other parties in the context of our formal process to consider strategic alternatives," Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick said in a statement issued in response to EA's announcement. "We remain focused on creating value for our stockholders and our consumers."

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