A report by Reuters says EA has agreed to delay its takeover attempts by 45 days, or until the FTC ends its probe into the deal. While the FTC hasn't released specific information about the nature of its investigation, concerns are widely assumed to be focused on anti-competitive aspects of the deal, particularly in relation to the powerful EA Sports brand. Currently, EA's only major competitor in the sports videogame genre is Take-Two's 2K Sports series, and many observers have suggested that if the takeover is successful, EA will axe the 2K Sports brand, leaving EA Sports with a virtual monopoly.
The delay follows the most recent extension of EA's tender offer to Take-Two shareholders, which came on May 16 despite earlier words from EA executive Jeff Brown, who said in an interview that Take-Two was "not a strategic priority" for the company and implied that EA's interest was beginning to wane. That extension set the tender offer deadline back another month, to June 16, although it remains unlikely that EA will be able to acquire sufficient shares through the tender offer to achieve its goal.
Shares in both Take-Two and EA rose slightly this morning, with Take-Two reaching $27.37 while EA achieved $49.25. EA's current offer for outstanding shares in Take-Two remains fixed at $25.74, making the deal worth roughly $2 billion. To learn more, check out the EA and Take-Two acquisition information sites.