As far back as November 2007, Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick was countering takeover rumors by saying he was much more interested in growing the company than selling it. “I would say for the next five to seven years this is a terrific time to be in the videogame business,” he said, adding that the company’s recent sell-offs had left it in a “very efficient” state.
But then came the attempted acquisition of the company by rival publisher Electronic Arts, which dragged out from February until August and then entered a new phase when Take-Two decided it was amenable to a deal with EA after all. The final nail in the coffin came in mid-September, when EA announced that despite a management presentation by Take-Two executives and other efforts to broker a friendly deal, it was terminating the merger discussions.
Throughout it all, Zelnick has maintained that Take-Two management was actively pursuing other, more valuable merger options. In March 2008, he said he had received “indications of interest” from other companies in the wake of the EA takeover attempt, although no substantive discussions had taken place, and after the end of the EA negotiations he said the company remained “actively engaged in discussions with other parties in the context of our formal process to consider strategic alternatives.”
That review of strategic alternatives is now over, the company said in a statement today, and after all that time spent screwing around the Board of Directors has decided that the best option is to maintain the status quo as an independent company. “Take-Two’s recent performance demonstrates our potential to create value for the long term,” said CEO Ben Feder. “We have delivered solid financial results and expanded our portfolio of leading titles, which includes the powerful Grand Theft Auto franchise, as well as 15 other wholly owned brands with sales of more than one million units each. Our strong cash position – with no debt and an undrawn $140 million credit facility – gives us the financial flexibility to continue to do what we do best: innovate and create the great games that our customers have come to expect.”