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Q&A: EA CEO John Riccitiello On The Take-Two Offer

Following the news that EA has formally offered $2.0 billion for Take-Two, Gamasutra spoke to Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello on the offer - revealing admiration for the Grand Theft Auto franchise and the desire to 'create a bubble' for other
Following on from the news that EA has formally offered $2.0 billion for Take Two, Gamasutra has conducted a brief Q&A with EA CEO John Riccitiello. As part of the discussion, Riccitiello covered his thoughts on potential Take-Two/EA synergies, the surprising inspiration behind the merger, and hints at EA's possible plans for the company's studios. On why and how long EA has been interested in Take Two: "EA's been interested for a very long time, you probably remember stories [about a party interested in acquiring Take Two] from March or April of last year... That was Electronic Arts. They have some of the world's best studios and intellectual properties." On why the announcement of the rebuffed acquisition attempt has been made public: "We wanted to bring it to shareholder attention. If the board continues to resist, the shareholder loses." On whether EA is comfortable shouldering the controversy associated with Rockstar: "Personally, I consider Rockstar one of the great studios, and Sam Houser and the team to be great creatives... Personally, I'm not really afraid of controversy. If you look past the controversy, you can see the games sell because they're great games." On whether Midnight Club and 2K Sports offer redundancies to EA's Need for Speed franchise and EA Sports: "Frankly we're attracted by those franchises and their studios... While it's too early to talk... I think you're on the wrong trail when you're looking there. These situations can add synergy around corporate and publishing infrastructure." On whether he's concerned that this announcement will drive up Take Two's share price: "It's pretty typical that people who were will being to pay 15-16 bucks on Friday might be willing to pay more on Monday... We'll see how the market opens. If they think the transaction's likely the price will go up tomorrow." On whether he feels that Take Two's studios, including the Rockstar studios, could fit in with EA's new city-state philosophy of studio management: "Perfectly. When I was writing that white paper I referenced at DICE... one of the guys that had the most profound influence on me was Sam Houser... I respect him and understand how greatness comes from the decentralized model, and how a corporation like EA can create a bubble for them to work in and create great games. The time spent with Sam in years gone by brought us to that view."

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