Take-Two ordered to explain why it's not pulling its weight with FTC investigation into EA takeover bid

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Shenanigans are afoot at Take-Two Interactive Software, publishers of that surprise video game hit, Grand Theft Auto IV. Shenanigans that could lead to a full blown brouhaha if it’s not careful. A federal court has now asked the company to attend a hearing to explain why it has refused to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into the takeover bid by Electronic Arts.

EA has already delayed its offer for the umpteenth time in order to give the FTC a chance to finish off its investigation. Take-Two however seems desperate to wriggle out of danger by any means necessary.

In its defence, Take-Two claims that it “has already provided enormous quantities of data and access to key executives, and has offered to provide the FTC staff with additional documents and information.” “Nevertheless, the company believes the FTC’s subpoena and CID are unnecessarily broad and would entail unacceptable additional expense to the company,” an official statement concluded.

Incidentally, Take-Two chairman was out in force recently, talking up the 2K Sports division of the publisher and dissing its close rival EA Sports. He claimed a superior brand and that 2K Games titles outsell EA when their sports franchises compete head to head. The problem is that very few of its titles actually do that – the bigger sports franchises actually don’t often go head to head – so it’s clear that there is some serious weaseling going on.

The court has scheduled a hearing for June 24 to determine whether Take-Two is required to comply with the FTC’s request. Take-Two intends to defend its position in the courtroom if it is unable to reach an agreement with the FTC before the hearing.

There’s rumours that Take-Two might be speculating for other suitors in the meantime and thus these tactics could mask a fresh attempt to delay EA so that a more lucrative deal can be found elsewhere. Take-Two’s takeover seems largely inevitable right now, but it’s not yet certain who will be the lucky winner. Aside from the board of directors, that is.

Take-Two (via GameSpot)

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