Electronic Arts’ (NSDQ: ERTS) latest tender offer for rival gamer Take-Two expired today, and this time the company didn’t announce a one month extension. Due to the passage of time and the challenge of integrating the companies before the holidays, EA says it can no longer support the assumptions implicit in its $25.74 offer price, and needs further due diligence. The next step: EA management will receive a full-on briefing from Take-Two management, which will include “material, non-public information”. Basically: Take-Two will give a formal pitch to EA, explaining why they’re worth more than $25.74 per share. How that will play out is unclear, but it could be a step towards a friendly merger. Certainly the language in the release — which includes copies of letters sent by both companies — is friendly. Though it’s interesting that Take-Two shares are down over 5 percent pre-market to $23.45, suggesting investors aren’t expecting this to yield a quick, positive result. Release.
WSJ: “EA has been seen as holding out until the Federal Trade Commission rules on the deal by Thursday. Should no other Take-Two bidder surface by then and the FTC approves EA’s offer, EA was widely expected to drop its bid, see if Take-Two shares tumble back to pre-bid levels, and then try again. Any subsequent deal would close much more quickly, given it would already have been cleared by the FTC.”