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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Grand Theft Auto sales top $500 mln in 1st week | Technology | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) scored over $500 million in global sales of its criminal action game "Grand Theft Auto 4" in its first week, making it one of the most lucrative entertainment launches in history.

The video game publisher is sure to use the strong results, which topped even the most bullish expectations, to strengthen its bargaining position in talks with rival Electronic Arts Inc (ERTS.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which is trying to buy it for $2 billion, or $25.74 per share.

"When you're negotiating like this it's all about leverage," said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey.

"Take-Two couldn't be in a better position. If EA wants to keep their bid at $25.74 and thinks that's a fair price, they are going to have to walk away from this deal," Hickey said.

Take-Two has held off on engaging Electronic Arts until after the "GTA 4" launch, arguing the returns from the game should be a factor in its value.

Take-Two said on Wednesday that "Grand Theft Auto 4" sold about 6 million copies in the week after its April 29 launch, raking in more than $500 million.

Initial sales topped the $300 million for last year's "Halo 3" video game from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and were on par with Hollywood's biggest blockbuster film debut, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which raked in more than $500 million globally in its opening weekend.

Unit sales were in line with analysts' expectations, but revenue beat even the highest forecasts by about $100 million, reflecting strong demand in Europe, where the game costs more, and high sales of pricier collector's editions. 
Grand Theft Auto sales top $500 mln in 1st week | Technology | Reuters
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