EA to publish GTA IV?

The bickering that is taking place between Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive is entering into new levels. Yesterday we reported on the “White Knight” comments that EA took criticism for. Now it appears that new information is surfacing up in regards to whether or not EA will be the publisher of Grand Theft Auto IV which is set to release April 29th.

As known, Take Two has stood by their statement that they will not enter into any negotiations with EA until after GTAIV has been released. Now as it appears from the UK based site, MCVUK, some analysts believe that EA will be the publisher of GTAIV, despite what Take Two believes.

In support of the belief that EA will publish GTAIV and Manhunt 2 in the UK, former GameShadow and Lodestar freelance analyst, Nicholas Lovell told MCVUK:

“I do believe GTA IV will be an EA game. Whether it is the same game that it would have been under Take Two remains to be seen.

“I could also imagine EA trying to keep the Rockstar brand as an edgier label in the same way that wholesome, family-friendly Disney released films like Pulp Fiction or Gangs of New Your under the Miramax label.”

Backing up Lovell’s statement, Parker Consulting’s Nick Parker added:

“The timing is crucial – hostile bids can take a long time to resolve and who knows T2 may be successful in defending it. If EA succeeds, it should benefit from some of the GTAIV revenues although the reason to buy T2 should be based on longer term potential of all IPs, not just on this year’s results.”

However not all would agree that EA publishing GTAIV is a possibility and the takeover would take some time before anything like this happens. Maintaining this conviction is Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter as he comments:

“The deal won’t close for two or three months, so neither GTA IV nor Manhunt 2 will be released under EA’s watch (unless, of course, one or the other is further delayed).”

DFC Intelligence president David Cole added:

“A takeover like this will take some time. For one it has to get regulatory approval. I don’t think there is any way GTAIV would be an EA game before release.”

Furthermore, Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian commented: "I doubt that EA could close a transaction so quickly, but clearly they would like to capture as much GTA revenue as possible this year.”

So we shall see where these discussions may lead. Until then, feel free to add your comments below. Do you feel that EA is taking this too far? Or is this something you support?