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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 15:24 GMT
Grand Theft Auto bid goes hostile
Scene from Grand Theft Auto IV
Pre-orders of Grand Theft Auto IV have been better-than-expected
Video game firm Electronic Arts (EA) has made a hostile $2bn (1bn) bid for Take-Two Interactive Software, which publishes Grand Theft Auto.

EA took the offer directly to shareholders after Take-Two rejected its offer last month.

Take-Two said it would talk to EA after 29 April, when Grand Theft Auto IV is released. It also said EA was trying to take advantage of its low share price.

But John Riccitiello, chief executive of EA, said the offer was not hostile.

"This is an incredibly friendly proposition: we're offering a premium of over 60% of what [stock] was trading at before our offer," he told the BBC.

"I think we're the best possible home for their creative organisations; frankly, we're big fans."

Violent content

EA's offer expires at midnight on 11 April, which is the day after Take-Two's annual shareholders' meeting.

EA's boss warned that delaying the deal might prevent it going ahead.

"The longer this takes to get done, the less valuable the transaction is to us and our ability to pay $26 declines," he said.

The Grand Theft Auto games have been extremely successful but have been criticised for their violent content.

On Tuesday, Take-Two raised its profit forecasts for the year on the basis of better-than-expected orders for its new game.

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

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