Rumor: Viacom Makes Take-Two Buyout Offer

Publisher Take-Two Interactive Software may be the target of a $1.5 billion buyout offer from entertainment conglomerate Viacom, according to "industry rumors" reported by MCV.

If true, the move would mark the latest in the recent rash of video game buyouts and mergers, the most notable of which was Activision Blizzard, the unexpected $18.9 billion combination of major publisher Activision with Blizzard Entertainment owner Vivendi Games.

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The Take-Two umbrella encompasses multiple successful franchises and their respective developers, including the crime-life simulator Grand Theft Auto, underwater story-driven shooter BioShock, turn-based city builder Sid Meier's Civilization, along with the Midnight Club and Carnival Games properties.

The company also publishes titles based on the Go, Diego, Go! and Dora the Explorer brands, which are owned by Viacom subsidiary Nickelodeon. The varied holdings of Viacom include MTV as well, which purchased Rock Band developer Harmonix in 2006 and recently expressed its desire to further expand its gaming division.

Major upcoming titles from Take-Two include Rockstar North's much-anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, X360) and the console debut of Sid Meier's Civilization, Firaxis' Civilization Revolution (PS3, X360, DS).

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone is no stranger to the realm of video games, as he owns a majority stake in struggling publisher Midway Games. His daughter, Shari Redstone, was recently elected as Midway's chairwoman.