Consolidation continues to be a major theme in the gaming industry, as Electronic Arts today made its intentions to acquire Take-Two Interactive public. Coming off last year's big acquisitions of BioWare and Pandemic, EA offered to take over Take-Two for nearly $2 billion in cash, a 64 percent premium over the Grand Theft Auto publisher's aggregate stock price. Take-Two's board of directors flatly turned the offer down, saying the price was too low and the timing wasn't right with Grand Theft Auto IV ready to hit retailers in just a couple months.
With the publishers releasing dueling press releases about the proposed deal today, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello took some time to answer a handful of questions for GameSpot about why the publisher wants Take-Two, concerns over corporate culture clashes, and why this deal didn't happen a year ago.
GameSpot: This news spooks a lot of EA and Take-Two employees who probably feel that they're about to become redundant, in the various sports divisions especially. If this proposal were to be accepted, what level of employee cuts and consolidation would you expect?
John Riccitiello: I think it's way too early to tell, but I will tell you that our attraction to the asset of Take-Two is because we love their studios--Rockstar, Visual Concepts, Irrational [2K Boston and 2K Australia], Firaxis--and we like their intellectual properties. This transaction as we're proposing it is not about synergies at the studio level.
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