Los Angeles Times: Middle players feel the squeeze - Analysts say THQ is the next probable takeover target

Los Angeles Times writes: With the world's biggest video game publishers devouring their rivals, is it game over for mid-size companies?

Analysts said Monday that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., the New York company behind the "Grand Theft Auto" franchise, seemed to have little choice but to join industry giant Electronic Arts Inc. EA pressed Take-Two shareholders to accept its unsolicited takeover bid of $2 billion.

If successful, EA's bid would leave seven companies together controlling more than 75% of the $11-billion U.S. market for game software, said Ben Schachter, an analyst with UBS Securities.

Take away the big game console makers -- Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co. -- and there would be four. EA and Activision Inc., which is bulking up in a pending merger with Vivendi's games business, would reign over THQ Inc. and UbiSoft Entertainment.

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