Analysts Agree: EA Not a “White Knight” to Rockstar or Take-Two
Last week, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello spoke with the New York Times about his company’s offer to acquire Take-Two. He stated that he had not spoken to Rockstar, but claimed that he could make a case for how EA would offer a stable company that could help expand their audience. He even went so far as to say, “We, in many ways, represent a white knight.”
GameDaily spoke with several analysts to get their take on Riccitiello’s comments. Janco Partners’ Mike Hickey was clearly the most strongly opinionated of the bunch, stated, “My belief is Rockstar would be perfectly happy if EA never put a bid in at all. White knight commentary is total bull****, and disrespectful to both the developers at TTWO and the new management team that has already achieved success.”
David Cole of DFC Intelligence doesn’t believe Rockstar is exactly in dire need of help. “I would think with how successful the GTA games have been the issue hasn’t been getting them to a wider audience. The issue is really more about shareholder value and whether EA is a white knight for Take-Two shareholders by offering to pay them the maximum value they feel they can get,” he said.
My archnemesis, Wedbush Morgan Securities’ Michael Pachter, had a different perspective on the matter. “‘White Knight’ usually signifies rescue from a hostile suitor (the connotation is to a damsel in distress). I think Riccitiello’s use of the term was incorrect, and perhaps a misplaced attempt to sound clever. They are in no sense a White Knight.”
Pachter added, “Yes, Rockstar could go it alone, but they don’t own GTA. TTWO owns the IP, and it passes to whoever controls TTWO stock.”
What do you make of Riccitiello’s comments? Are they arrogance or insolence? I believe Pachter is most likely right, because it simply doesn’t make sense – Rockstar isn’t having trouble, so what exactly would they need to be rescued from? And while I do believe there’s a hint of arrogance to what he said, it’s more than likely just a tactic to convince shareholders who might not know any better.