EA and Take-Two's drawn-out acquisition dance has been dragging on since February of this year, but in the end, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter is certain EA will buy the Grand Theft Auto maker.
"We remain convinced that EA will prevail in its bid for Take-Two," said Pachter in a Friday investor note. "Now that EA has received FTC approval for the combination, the company is not under any pressure to keep the negotiations alive."
EA recently withdrew its offer of $25.74 per share, or around $2 billion total, to enter friendly talks with Take-Two regarding a buyout.
Take-Two management has repeatedly said that the amount offered is "inadequate."
Pachter added, "In our view, Take-Two management is interested in completing an acquisition by EA or by another party. We think that management has chosen to pull out all stops to demonstrate the company's earnings power this year..."
The Grand Theft Auto franchise and the corresponding talent behind it have been obvious factors in EA's desire to acquire Take-Two. But since GTA IV is now in the rearview mirror, Take-Two may have lost leverage.
"Now that the 'GTA trade' is behind us, we think that EA may decide to demonstrate its leverage by threatening to walk away," Pachter said.
When speculation circulated this week that merger talks were going truly sour, Take-Two shares slid 5.6 percent.
At market close Friday, Take-Two shares were up 2 percent to $23.75.
Pachter stated, "...We believe that [EA] can complete a deal at a lower price by breaking off negotiations and cooling its heels for a few weeks. However, we think that EA has 'deal lust' and vastly prefers a friendly deal.
"Thus, we expect the company to increase its bid by a modest amount (likely $1-2) in order to complete a friendly deal."
Article supplied by Edge-Online