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Take Two's Grand Theft Auto IV Set To "Steal" Debut Records

Take Two Interactive
Take Two Interactive

Video game maker Take Two Interactive has been fighting off a $2 billion dollar acquisition bid by rival video game publisher Electronic Arts and pushing back talks until the latest in its blockbuster Grand Theft Auto franchise came out on April 29th.

And now we know why. The fourth in the series received rave reviews and is set to break records and bring in $400 million dollars in its first week of sales. That won't only be the biggest video game debut ever, it'll also likely be the biggest opening week for ANY entertainment product.

Take Two hopes the release will boost the company's stock price, justifying its advice to shareholders to reject Electronic Arts $26-per-share bid: initially a 64 percent premium to the company's stock.

Why does Electronic Arts want Take Two? It's not just about the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Take Two and EA are the only two companies that make sports-related video games. And from a competitive perspective EA doesn't want a rival that might invest more in those sports games to snag Take Two and the licenses it has nailed down.

The big rival is Activision , which in December acquired Vivendi Games to become Activision Blizzard. But the CEO of Activision, Bobby Kotick says he's not interested in buying Take Two.

So can Take Two use the boffo results of this upcoming game as leverage to get a higher offer? With no other offers on the table, Electronic Arts has little reason to increase its bid. The only reason EA might, is to make this deal move forward quickly.

Thursday afternoon in New York City the Take Two board is holding its annual shareholder meeting. On the agenda are eight members up for re-election. But more than anything you can bet the meeting will be buzzing about this EA offer, and whether there are, or will be, any other bids on the table.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.