: Take-Two drops Codemasters acquisition bid, clearing way for EA

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Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO indicated Wednesday it was not topping Electronic Arts Inc.’s EA bid for U.K.-based racing games publisher Codemasters Group Holdings PLC UK:CDM. In December, EA had offered $1.2 billion for Codemasters, following a $1 billion bid from Take-Two in November. In a statement, Take-Two said Codemasters had not held shareholder meetings on its offer by the appointed date of Jan. 12 so it allowed the offer to lapse rather than extend it. Cowen analyst Doug Creutz, who has an outperform rating on Take-Two, praised the move. “We are not surprised that Take-Two decided not to pursue at a higher bid, as management has a fairly high bar when it comes to M&A, and we don’t view the deal as a strategic imperative,” Creutz said in a note. Take-Two shares rose 1.2%, while EA shares declined 1.1% in early trading. In London, shares of Codemasters fell 7%.
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