The world's leading video game maker announced that it was unplugging its Guitar Hero franchise. The latest installment in its tired True Crime series is also being delayed. Things continue to go swimmingly for its World of Warcraft and Call of Duty juggernauts, but investors sold off the stock last week after spotting the void.
Activision Blizzard doesn't have to rely on a new homegrown hit to excite investors. The cultivation process can take years. Who has time for that?
Thankfully, there's always Take-Two Interactive
I realize that Take-Two isn't officially on the bidding block. However, that certainly didn't stop Electronic Arts
EA failed in its efforts to nab the publisher behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but there are several of reasons why a deal may go through this year:
- Activision Blizzard and EA are hungrier than they were in 2008. Many of their marquee properties are failing and pounded shareholders need to see new catalysts.
- Take-Two is a more diversified company these days. It's no longer a one-trick pony. Just look at the success of BioShock and Red Dead: Redemption. Unlike Activision Blizzard, the market relished Take-Two's quarterly report this month.
- Shares of Take-Two are trading roughly 40% below the $26 offer that investors rebuffed.
Today's lower price should humble Take-Two investors the next time an unsolicited buyout offer is made. The fact that Take-Two is a better-rounded publisher makes it that much more appealing as a buyout candidate.
Activision Blizzard would begin a redemptive journey with Take-Two in its stable. The key here is if it will be able to quietly snap it up. Video game companies rarely break out into bidding wars, but it'd be a surprise to see EA refrain from raising a bidding card if Activision Blizzard makes an offer. EA sat quietly as Activision combined with Blizzard Entertainment, and it has to be kicking itself. As bad as things may seem for Activision Blizzard and its pre-teen stock price, can you imagine how things would be if it didn't have the steady deluge of World of Warcraft revenue? If EA had intercepted Blizzard, it would be the world's largest video game software company right now.
We don't have to stop at Take-Two and EA, naturally. Microsoft
In all fairness, I've seen Take-Two as a viable buyout candidate for years. It obviously hasn't panned out. However, everything's falling into place. Take-Two is thriving in a challenging industry that is ripe for consolidation.
What are you waiting for, Activision Blizzard?
Is a buyout Take-Two's best shot for serious capital appreciation? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Take-Two Interactive Software is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Activision Blizzard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, and Take-Two Interactive Software. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz will admit to still playing video games, though finding time is the rub. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.