Video-game publisher Electronic Arts said Sunday it had ended talks to buy smaller rival Take-Two Interactive Software, best known for the...

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Video games

Video-game publisher Electronic Arts said Sunday it had ended talks to buy smaller rival Take-Two Interactive Software, best known for the “Grand Theft Auto” games.

EA, the publisher of games such as “Madden NFL 09” and “Spore,” said it decided not to make an offer.

EA had signed a nondisclosure agreement with Take-Two in August after letting a deadline for a $2 billion tender offer to buy the company expire.

Spokesman Jeff Brown said Sunday that EA is “not at all” disappointed.

Brown didn’t say why EA walked away but added that Take-Two was “never something EA needed.”

Since making its offer public in February, EA has maintained it was offering a “fair and full” price for Take-Two. While keeping the total price of the bid at $2 billion, it lowered the original $26-per-share offer to $25.74 to account for restricted shares granted to Take-Two’s management.

Take-Two, meanwhile, repeatedly rejected the offer as undervaluing the company.

Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick said Sunday the company remains “actively engaged in discussions with other parties in the context of our formal process to consider strategic alternatives.”

Online advertising

MySpace Music snags big sponsors

MySpace Music, the digital music Web site that makes its debut this month, has attracted McDonald’s, Toyota Motor and State Farm Life Insurance as advertisers.

The marketers will sponsor services such as free downloads and ringtones, Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing at MySpace, said.

MySpace Music will offer free music streaming and paid downloads, tickets and other merchandise, MySpace said Sunday. The new site is a joint venture with major record labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.

Retailing

Longs Drug Stores backs CVS offer

Longs Drug Stores, the California retailer that received a $75-a-share offer from Walgreen, said it recommends shareholders accept CVS Caremark’s month-old, $71.50-a-share offer.

Longs confirmed the $3 billion Walgreen offer and said Sunday it will consider the bid. Walgreen, the largest U.S. pharmacy chain, offered to buy Longs on Sept. 12, one month after CVS disclosed its offer.

The tender by Walgreen puts pressure on CVS to either increase its price or risk losing a chance to add drugstores in two of the fastest-growing U.S. states, Nevada and Arizona. Longs, which has 521 stores, also operates in California and Hawaii.

The two institutional investors holding the highest number of Longs’ shares, Advisory Research and Pershing Square Capital Management, have urged the company to seek a higher offer.

Online media

Social networking coming to Journal

The Wall Street Journal is borrowing elements from popular Internet hangouts like Facebook as it seeks to boost usage.

WSJ.com, one of the few news sites to restrict many stories to paying subscribers, is changing its layout to help nonpaying visitors navigate and identify free, ad-supported content. Those visitors will see a different home page from subscribers.

The “Journal Community” is coming Tuesday as part of the site’s first major revision since 2002. There, paying subscribers create personal profile pages with their real names, job details, interests and photo, much as users can at Facebook and networking site LinkedIn.

Community members will be able to comment on individual stories, create discussion groups on specific topics and ask one another for advice on such topics as starting small businesses or finding a place to take clients during a business trip.

Lobbying

Tech trade groups in merger talks

Most major industries have a dominant trade association to make their case in the nation’s capital. Think the Motion Picture Association of America for the Hollywood movie studios or the American Petroleum Institute for the oil companies. Those lobbying groups give their industries one powerful voice, making it easier to get their messages heard through the D.C. cacophony.

But the high-tech industry often creates its own cacophony.

It has more than two dozen trade associations, with enough similar-sounding acronyms — BSA, CCIA, CEA and CTIA are just a few — to give lawmakers a headache.

“When it comes to lobbying, everyone else is Snow White and we’re the Seven Dwarfs,” Phillip Bond, the president of the Information Technology Association of America once said about the problem of too many tech-industry associations in Washington, D.C.

On the theory that size matters, Bond’s ITAA and AeA, one of the oldest tech-trade groups, announced last week they were in merger talks. (Formerly the American Electronics Association, AeA now follows a trend of using an acronym as its official name).

The two groups wouldn’t discuss the sticking points in their talks, but Bond said a merger would create the industry’s leading association, moving the groups “two or three steps toward being Snow White.”

Compiled from The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press