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Analyst: BioShock 2 Release Date Dubious, Take-Two A Takeover Target, GTA MMO?

Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey has doubts that Take-Two can make its planned release timing for BioShock 2 and believes the company can easily become a takeover target for companies interested in a GTA MMO.
Take-Two's just announced that BioShock 2 will release in Europe on October 30 and in the U.S. on November 2, but Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey isn't so sure. "We have concerns over the successful timing of their BioShock 2 release, given the unannounced platforms and expected last-day-of-quarter release," he says. Hickey also has reservations on the publisher based on the timing of the next full Grand Theft Auto chapter, which he says may not release until late 2010 or 2011 -- "although a fiscal '10 release seems probable," he says. Further, the analyst has high hopes for a Grand Theft Auto MMO, which he calls a "distinct and enormously profitable possibility -- if the IP is positioned with a well-capitalized partner who has an exceedingly strong track record of MMO market success, development expertise and organizational infrastructure." With all that in mind, the analyst says Take-Two's become a likely target for a buyout. "We believe the Company would be a viable acquisition candidate, as they have arguably some of the strongest video game development talent and IP in the world," he suggests. Last year, Take-Two repeatedly rejected Electronic Arts' ultimately failed $25.74 per share takeover bid as "inadequate." Although Take-Two's stock has seen some lift over the past day or two thanks to its ability to meet its recent quarterly guidance -- despite $10 million in losses -- the publisher is currently trading in the $8 to $9 range, which means larger companies could much more feasibly acquire the publisher than last year when it traded at a high of over three times that much.

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