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Is Activision pondering a Take-Two takeover?

Has Activision turned ts eyes on buying Take-Two? That's the Wall Street scuttlebutt today, fueled by a research note by Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey, subsequently reported by various investment sites.

Hickey reckons Activision wants to get into the movie business, and would benefit greatly from some of Take-Two's franchises, most particularly Grand Theft Auto.

"For Activision, acquiring Take-Two Interactive would be a no-brainer, in our view, circling some of the strongest development talent and owned IP in the world, within a company that has nearly $1 billion in cash and trades at a comparably lower multiple," Hickey said.

Hickey argued that Los Angeles-based Activision, which has long enjoyed a close working relationship with Hollywood, might look like a good bet for Take-Two. He added that any such deal would leave Activision with "arguably the three strongest development studios in the world with Rockstar Games, Bungie and Blizzard."

Hickey said that internal plans for a Grand Theft Auto movie, driven by the Houser brothers who control that franchise, might be aided by Activision's deep pockets.

He also speculated that any such deal might lead to an annualization of Take-Two franchises. Take-Two's stock was up four percent today.

Back in 2008, Electronic Arts made a $2 billion bid to buy Take-Two, which was rejected by the Take-Two board as "undervalued." EA let the bid slide.

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