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Electronic Arts, Take-Two in confidential talks

Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello speaks at the Electronic Arts news conference at the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles July 14, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Video game makers Electronic Arts Inc and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc signed a confidentiality agreement after agreeing to hold private talks about a potential transaction, EA said on Monday.

EA, publishers of the popular “Madden” and “Need for Speed” games, dropped its hostile pursuit last week of Take-Two, the maker of the hot “Grand Theft Auto” games, after Take-Two agreed to spell out its three-year product plans, but only in private.

“As a result, EA does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the status of any discussions or negotiations with Take-Two unless and until discussions between EA and Take-Two have been terminated or such parties have entered into a transaction,” EA said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

EA offered to buy Take-Two for $25.74 a share, or about $2 billion, in April. The bid was promptly rejected as too low.

Shortly after EA dropped its bid, U.S. antitrust regulators said they would approve a combination of the two companies.

Reporting by Kenneth Li; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe