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It had to happen – EA has extended the expiration date for its bid to acquire Take-Two, while the Federal Trade Commission continues its investigation. Although EA recently certified its compliance with the FTC’s broad-ranging request for information, the publisher reached an agreement with the FTC through which it promises not to complete any acquisition until August 21.
In that fashion, the extension is merely a formality, to allow the bid to remain outstanding until the investigation concludes. The new bid deadline is now August 18, so it’s safe to assume we’ll see at least one more extension at that time, since any move EA makes would need to be after the 21st.
It looks like EA has made a bit of small gain, though, as far as the likelihood of bringing the acquisition to fruition:
It’s time for the Take-Two Interactive E3 2008 press conference! What mysteries lie beyond the jump? Will they talk about GTA DS? Will they concede and hand over the company to EA right then and there? Will they…I dunno…talk about an upcoming movie for an hour?
God I hope not.
Take-Two CEO Ben Feder is not a gamer, unless you’re talking Carnival Games. He and Board chairman Strauss Zelnick were brought in as turnaround experts during some very low times at Take-Two. The SEC was investigating, the company wasn’t profitable, and many people were wondering if it could weather the storms.
Now, it’s a different story — Grand Theft Auto IV and BioShock are some of the highest-rated titles on Metacritic, and Take-Two is the number three publisher in the industry. The turnaround strategy seems to be working.
Yesterday, BioShock on PS3 appeared in the OFLC’s database. Somehow, the static image of a syringe is much more suggestive than a dude violently jabbing himself with a needle and groaning in ecstasy. Good thing there’s no mention of real world drugs, so we can pretend it’s just a game!
Oh, that’s right, it is a game.
As an aside, Digital Extremes gets an “author” credit in the database entry, thanks to its optimisation work.
That guy is Seth Krauss, the less-public and certainly-not-recommended-for-disbarment other half of litigation involving Grand Theft Auto and Take Two. He’s the general counsel for Take Two, and Gamepolitics ran across a profile of him in The National Law Journal. While it’s not stocked with amazing conference room screengrabs or a discussion of next-gen subpoena-quashing physics, it does reveal some interesting tidbits about Take Two’s legal muscle.
Whatever you think of the law or those who practice it, this guy’s out there lawyerin’ and lobbyin’ for your rights to play — well, Take Two games, at least.
According to the profile, Krauss came on board when Strauss Zelnick took control in 2002. Other fun facts:
City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios have found a publisher for their next superhero MMO, Champions Online – none other than 2K Games. The MMO, in development for the Xbox 360 and PC (though Microsoft hasn’t approved the concept yet), will mark 2K’s first entry into the MMO market.
“2K Games is a terrific publishing partner for Champions Online,” said John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios. “Cryptic is proud that Champions Online will be 2K’s first MMO title and we look forward to working together towards a tremendous launch next year.”
An interesting move on the part of Take-Two’s publishing arm, delving into this new industry segment while TT is still being eyed like a giant cartoon roast chicken by EA. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to baste every now and then.
31 complaints against a TV ad for Take-Two’s Bully: Scholarship Edition were dismissed by the Advertising Standards Authority. The complainants said that the ads “glorified and trivialised” bullying, but the ASA found that the ads themselves were not in violation of any standards.
According to GamesIndustry, the ASA did find the game distasteful, but was not glorifying violence because of its “comic and exaggerated” nature:
“Although many might find the name and content of the game to be in poor taste, the content of the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence”, it said.
ASA dismisses Bully advertising complaints [GamesIndustry.biz]
Electronic Arts has satisfied the Federal Trade Commission’s extensive second request for information in the publisher’s bid to acquire Take-Two, the company revealed through an SEC filing today – and, pursuant to EA’s agreement with the FTC, it won’t “consummate” any acquisition before August 21.
That is, unless the FTC finishes its investigation sooner. It’s now got the information it needs from EA in its quest to determine possible antitrust issues, but Take-Two has appeared to struggle with fulfiling the broad-ranging request; when it was initially uncompliant, the District Court of Washington, D.C. had demanded it show cause, with Take-Two risking an injunction if it failed to pony up.
However, Tiffany Steckler of EA’s corporate communications said that the August 21 timeline applies regardless of what Take-Two does:
It’s hard to believe by this year’s E3 is one week away. The show unofficial kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Pacific on Monday when Microsoft starts their press conference. While the show floor, or what there is of a show floor, won’t open until Tuesday, there will be plenty of events to look forward on Monday alone. Here’s a run down of some of the highlights for the week:
Sunday 8 p.m. Kotaku Party: Open to everyone (21 and over)
Monday 10:30 a.m. Microsoft Presser 1 p.m. Shane Kim Roundtable 3 p.m. EA Presser 8:30 p.m. Gears of War 2 Reception
Tuesday 9 a.m. Show Floor Opens 9 a.m. Nintendo Presser 11:30 a.m. Sony Presser 2: 30 p.m. Ubisoft Presser 4:30 p.m. Capcom Presser 7 p.m. Activision Presser (Not technically a part of E3)
Wednesday 9:15 a.m. E3 Keynote by Gov. Perry 10 a.m. Sony Roundtable 10:45 a.m. Take Two Presser 1 p.m. State of the Industry Keynote 2:30 p.m. Konami Presser
There are, of course, plenty of booth tours, one-on-one interviews, meetings and parties that I didn’t include in this concise snapshot. What are you most eager to check out? Me? I’m psyched for the big three’s keynote’s because those are almost always chockful of news. I’m also interested to see what both Take-Two and EA have to say at their pressers, I expect some news from both, maybe even related, though I sort doubt it. More than any year before, though, I think this E3 will be the year of the third-parties. Lots of big games being shown off.
Hit the jump to vote on what you most want to hear about and see next week.
Following CVG’s report that Take-Two might close the doors on Venom Studios, its Newcastle, UK-based developer of Don King’s Prizefighter and Prey, Take-Two has said in a statement that it is indeed considering layoffs, though no final decisions have been made yet.
“We are assessing the role of Venom Games in Take-Two’s overall global studio system and are in a consultation with the employees of Venom in relation to possible redundancies at the studio,” the company said. “No final decision will be made until after the consultation with employees”, it added.
Venom was founded in 2003 and was acquired by Take-Two in 2004 for $US 1.3 million.