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Last Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008, 08:02 GMT
EA bids for Grand Theft Auto firm
Scene from Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV will be released on 29 April
US video game giant Electronic Arts has made an unsolicited $1.9bn (968m) offer for the owner of Grand Theft Auto, Take-Two Interactive Software.

EA said it had gone public with its all-share offer after having pursued it privately since December.

Take-Two immediately rejected the offer, which was 50% higher than its closing price on Friday.

Its management said that EA was trying to pick up the company cheaply ahead of April's release of Grand Theft Auto IV.

"Electronics Arts' proposal provides insufficient value to our shareholders and comes at absolutely the wrong time," Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said in a statement.

Latest round

But EA's chief executive John Riccitiello tried to appeal directly to shareholders.

"There can be no certainty that in the future EA or any other buyer would pay the same high premium we are offering today," he said.

EA added it was offering $26 a share, after Take-Two rejected $25 a share earlier this month.

If the deal were to go through it would be the latest round of consolidation in the gaming industry, following Activision's $18bn acquisition of the gaming unit of France's Vivendi, which was announced in November.

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