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Take-Two Interactive has appeared within the radar of Activision, owner of billion-dollar gaming franchises such as Skylanders and Call of Duty. The two labels have begun speaking to one another in a way that would suggest Activision is looking to acquire the game development company. Although Take-Two is fairly large and valuable, Activision is among the largest third-party gaming entities in the industry. Both teams have expressed interest in the other’s business practices, perhaps making the merger inevitable.
From a business perspective, there are several reasons for Activision to have Take-Two Interactive on their radar. Analyst Mike Hickey remarked upon the “emerging romance” between the two companies, saying their primary interest in this partnership would be to create movies based on their popular franchises. From the Activision side, the acquisition would be a “no-brainer,” with the strong development reputation of Take-Two and some of the most popularized IP in the world, according to Hickey. On the other side of this potential marriage, Take-Two has expressed admiration of Activision, saying their deep connections with Hollywood, mixed with their online structure shown in games such as Diablo III, make a very intriguing set of possibilities.
This is not the first time another company has attempted to acquire the development studio. In 2008, Electronic Arts (EA) attempted to buy them out for $26 a share, which was declined. That courting process lasted from February until September that year, Take-Two saying no at every turn as they felt EA was undervaluing their company.
That company, current owner of 2K Games and Rockstar Games, has been known for some of the biggest franchises in the industry today. Rockstar Games alone has Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and a slew of other titles that have set records for sales and graphical fidelity across multiple generations. 2K Games is no slouch, holding the rights to titles such as Borderlands, yearly sports franchises for professional basketball and baseball and the Bioshock series. Activision, in their current partnership with Blizzard Interactive, holds the rights to many franchises such as World of Warcraft and the upcoming Destiny.
There are some legal issues that may be first in line for the massive studio’s attention before any merger would happen. Lindsay Lohan has sued the Grand Theft Auto V makers, saying her likeness and voice were used without her permission in the game character Lacey Jonas. Rockstar Games and Take-Two are currently asking a New York judge to throw out the case, calling it “a bad-faith filing,” and an abuse of the court system.
Take-Two Interactive, with or without Activision, has several titles coming out within the next year that are on many connoisseurs’ radars. This fall will see the return of annual series such as WWE 2K15 and NBA 2K15 as well as a new Borderlands entry subtitled The Pre-Sequel. During the first quarter of next year, the new title from Turtle Rock Studios, Evolve, is set to launch while a graphical upgrade of Grand Theft Auto V is also set to come from Take-Two. Activision will be rolling out Call of Duty this November 4 and Destiny in a matter of days on September 9.
By Myles Gann