Slave to the Game

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US videogame giant Electronic Arts (EA) on Monday extended anew the deadline on its two-billion-dollar offer to buy "Grand Theft Auto" maker Take-Two Interactive.

EA set August 18 as the new cut-off date for its offer but did not budge from its price of 25.74 dollars per share. Take-Two has repeatedly rejected the bid as too low.

Take-Two's board of directors is urging stockholders to refuse to sell their shares to EA.

"We are fully engaged in a formal process to evaluate strategic alternatives that have the potential to deliver greater value than EA's inadequate offer," Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick said in a statement.

"As part of this process, we continue to engage in meaningful discussions with multiple parties."

EA said it is extending its July 18 deadline to allow time for US antitrust regulators to approve the proposed takeover of Take-Two. EA gave the same reason for adding a month to a June deadline it had set.

EA says slightly more than 11.7 million shares of Take-Two stock have been "tendered" by stockholders interested in the deal. Take-Two counters that the share count represents only 15 percent of the company's stock.

Since Take-Two first rejected EA's offer in February, the takeover target has released hot-selling "Grand Theft Auto IV" and announced a deal to make a film based on its popular "Bioshock" videogame.

At a major videogames trade summit in Los Angeles last week, Take-Two defiantly touted new titles they plan to release in the coming year.

"Take-Two is continuing to create significant value through the development of world-class entertainment products," the firm's chief executive Ben Feder said in a statement.

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