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Ubisoft a possible Take-Two suitor, suggests Forbes

Forbes suggests that Ubisoft may be one of the interested parties Take-Two claims to be talking with

During a conference call reporting Take-Two's Q2 earnings last week, the company gave no indication that it was any closer to accepting EA's offer but said it was talking to other interested parties.

While many analysts believe that EA will seal the deal by raising its offering price, there is still a possibility that an alternative suitor may end up acquiring Take-Two.

Forbes, ruling out Activision due to their impeding merger with Vivendi, suggests that suitor may be Ubisoft.

For starters, Ubisoft is among the world's five largest game publishers with USD 1.5 billion in sales during fiscal 2008. In addition, during recent interviews with Forbes, Ubisoft North America's president Laurent Detoc indicated the company is moving away from a pure games-based business in favor of what it hopes will be long-lived brands, extended across all forms of media.

Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto and BioShock, which has a planned movie deal, could fit in nicely with Ubisoft's library of action, adventure and shooter franchises. In addition, the developers at Rockstar would probably blend well with Ubisoft's culture.

"Ubisoft has shown they do a good job of managing original intellectual property," Cowen and Co analyst Doug Creutz told Forbes. "Culturally, Take-Two developers would not have a problem at Ubisoft because they allow a decent degree of creative freedom."

Finally, Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemont is reportedly looking to expand the company's reach into the sports genre - an acquisition of Take-Two would net them the 2K Sports division.

"Ubisoft has grown phenomenally over the past few years," Signal Hill analyst Todd Greenwald told Forbes. "But the only way for them to continue to grow is to enter categories that they aren't in."

Financial issues, however, casts doubt on Ubisoft's ability to acquire Take-Two: The company can't afford to match EA's current bid, and a merger may be difficult as EA owns 17 per cent of Ubisoft.

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