Metue Deal Diary: EA vs Take Two, Day by Day

ea ttwo deal diaryWith all the back and forth over the last five months, keeping track of Electronic Art’s attempt to acquire Take Two has gotten confusing. At times, it seems like just about anyone you ask is bound to have a different take, or different facts to relay: "The offer is too low and undervalues the company." "It’s just a matter of time." "EA will have to up their offer to $28 to $30." "it’s a stalemate."

In March, we put together a "Deal Diary" to track things. That first effort rapidly became outdated with all the twists and turns. An update was long overdue, so here, covering all the gritty details, even historical stock prices, is the remake. All in one place: The Exhaustive EA and Take Two Deal Diary from

[Note: This Deal Diary will be updated when more news develops. This version was last updated September 14, 2008. For related articles and analysis about the merger please see the links at the end of this Deal Diary].

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EA and Take Two: Delayed Again

ea delayedEA first went public with their offer to buy Take Two Interactive in February.  In March,  they escalated things to hostile.   In the months following it’s been much of the same back and forth: EA spokespeople say their price is “fair” and a “substantial premium.”  Take Two says the offer “significantly undervalues” the company.  Both sides created websites.  EA issues ultimatums and sets deadlines, Take Two fires back.  The dialog is mostly the same, as are the terms.  Only the deadlines change.  Most recently it was June 3rd. Then that deadline was extended to June 16th.  June 16th passed uneventfully.  Now, on Tuesday, Electronic Arts announced a fourth extension.  Now, the new deadline on EA’s tender offer to buy Take Two Interactive will lapse July 18th.   

Will this new date be final?  Or will the scheduling snafus continue?  The answers may hinge partly on regulatory issues.   Click to Read More

Yahoo Concludes Microsoft Talks, Partners with Google

msft yhoo googNot that there was any doubt, but just in case anyone was thinking a relationship could be rekindled, Yahoo announced today that any discussions with Microsoft over merger, or other relationship, are done. Now both sides have said it… more than once.

Yahoo said in a press release that following numerous meetings, talks were “concluded.”  Microsoft was not interested in pursuing an acquisition for all of Yahoo and Yahoo’s board has determined that the sale of just their search business would not be in their best interests.

Microsoft affirmed the statement in a press release of their owning stating, “As stated on May 3rd and reiterated on May 18th Microsoft was not interested in rebidding for all of Yahoo!.  Our alternative transaction remains available for discussion.”

Moving forward, Yahoo will instead supplement income and try to boost their search business by working with Google.   In a separate announcement, it was confirmed that the two have reached a non-exclusive search deal that could be worth an extra $250 to $400m in cash flow.

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BMG Selling Stake in SonyBMG Music? (August Update: Sold!)

sony bmg saleOver the past couple of years it has been a recurring headline, a come and go promise that’s never been fulfilled.  Now, the news may finally match the rumor.  Multiple reports are suggesting Bertelsmann, the German media giant, is close to selling its 50% stake in the world’s second largest music label (Sony BMG) back to co-owner Sony.

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HBO Funds Funny or Die

hbo funny or dieTogether with AOL, HBO tried to build a website around comedy video in February of 2007.  Like an awkward TV pilot that couldn’t find its groove, “This Just In” was shuttered by August.  Now, in a second go round, the Time Warner cable channel will play the part of investor.   HBO is committing an undisclosed amount of capital to buy a stake guessed to be about 10 percent of internet comedy shop FunnyorDie.

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Fiduciary Fallout: Yahoos Board Challenged Over Merger Decisions

yahoo fightCorporate takeover battles are full of strategic shifts, risks and gambles. Poison Pills, Golden Parachutes, Offers and Counter Offers.  It’s a brinkmanship game.  Intrigue and misdirection are to be expected.  Given that, absent all the evidence, it can be difficult to judge the good from the bad when looking in as an outsider.  One thing that’s not hard to judge is the explicit opinion of expert consultants.  And when one calls your plans “nuts?” That’s not good, far from it.  Still that’s exactly the boiling cauldron of hot water Yahoo’s board of directors and CEO Jerry Yang have found themselves in this week.

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Dear Yahoo: Icahn’s Latest Letter (Reprint)

lettersEarlier today, in light of recent revelations about Yahoo’s handling of the Microsoft merger offer, investor Carl Icahn went public with his latest words discontent.  His letter, which was filed with the SEC as part of the public record, is reprinted below.

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