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EA pulls the plug on Take-Two takeover

Publisher "terminates discussions" following management presentation

The year's longest-running on-off saga appears to have finally ended with the announcement from Electronic Arts that it has decided to end talks with the Take-Two management team over a possible takeover.

The publisher, which made the initial bid back in February this year to acquire the Rockstar Games parent company, made the decision to terminate discussions with Take-Two following a presentation from the latter's management team.

A statement from EA didn't cite any specific reason for the end of the seven month chase, but merely noted that the company still had "a high regard" for its former target's creative teams and products, but "after careful consideration, including a management presentation and review of other due diligence materials... EA has decided not to make a proposal to acquire Take-Two and has terminated discussions with Take-Two."

"EA is tracking toward a record breaking year," commented CEO John Riccitiello. "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."

The company's share price, which leapt to USD 26.89 back in February on news of the original announcement by EA, stood at USD 21.89 at the close on Friday - significantly lower than the original USD 25 offer made by EA.

Update: Take-Two's chairman Strauss Zelnick has now issued a response to EA's decision, pointing out that the company is in active discussions with companies about possible future partnerships.

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Phil Elliott