Prediction: News Corp. takes Take-Two

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Still hungry even after recently gobbling up Dow Jones and Beliefnet, Rupert Murdoch will take a big bite out of the booming video game business with the acquisition of publisher Take-Two Interactive Software. With Vivendi having recently scooped up Activision, and Disney and Viacom indicating they're ready to invest nine-figure sums in the sector, it's high time Murdoch asserted himself.

There might be no better time to swoop. With the negative publicity surrounding the launch of "Manhunt 2" from its Rockstar subsidiary now behind it, Take-Two has a certified smash with the Xbox 360 exclusive "Bioshock." And on April 30 it finally will ship "Grand Theft Auto IV," which will be available at launch on multiple consoles for the first time and should easily be one of 2008's top-selling games.
 
The merger of casual games and social networking is predicted to be the next big thing, so an acquisition of Take-Two would provide the games to help News Corp. monetize MySpace and IGN Entertainment.

Take-Two's stock is on the rise following a management shake-up in early 2007, meaning Murdoch would likely have to pay a premium for the publisher. But as the Dow Jones deal showed, he's not afraid to spend to get what he wants.






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