Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia says yesterday's announcement
of a renewed employment deal between Take-Two and key Rockstar employees "makes the company a more attractive acquisition candidate."
Though Take-Two didn't specify the length of the new Rockstar contract, which the publisher said features "substantially similar economic terms" from the old one, Bhatia said he expects Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzie are now locked in with the company through early 2015, removing "the single biggest overhang on [Take Two] stock."
While Bhatia pointed out that Take-Two "has one of the strongest libraries of owned IP in the video game business," he also warned that the company's lineup for the rest of the year looked "so-so," and that it risked losing a million or more sales for its next NBA title should a strike occur in the league.
Still, Bhatia raised his firm's target price for Take-Two stock, based in part on increased expectations for L.A. Noire
, which Take-Two said yesterday
had a "very successful" first week on the market.
Longer term, Take-Two could see benefits from recently signed digital deals in Asia and the expiration of a weak-performing licensing deal with Major League Baseball
, Bhatia said.
Shares in Take-Two recently reached their highest sale price
since September 2008, when the company was fielding an acquisition offer from Electronic Arts