Acquisition plans bring shared angst

Yahoo, Take-Two fight off Microsoft, EA

Yahoo and Take-Two Interactive may come from very different industries, but they seem to be living parallel lives.

The Web portal and videogame publisher have in the past few months both been the subjects of public acquisition offers from industry giants — Microsoft and Electronic Arts, respectively — that would give shareholders a substantial premium over then-stagnant stock prices.

In both cases, management teams that have been in place less than a year — CEO Jerry Yang and chairman Roy Bostock at Yahoo; executive chairman Strauss Zelnick and CEO Ben Feder at Take-Two — repeatedly rejected the offers, claiming they have their company on a growth path to exceed the multibillion-dollar bids ($2 billion for Take-Two, $42 billion for Yahoo).

Now, EA already has and Microsoft is threatening to turn their offers into hostile ones, taking them directly to shareholders in an attempt to overturn the decisions of the boards of directors.

(Yahoo got an added twist last week with talks of a merger, with AOL or News Corp. joining in Microsoft’s bid.)

There is, of course, one unlikely solution that could solve both companies’ problems: a Take-Two/Yahoo merger.

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