Will They? Won’t They? Apparently Not

Reuters and Variety are both throwing cold water on rumors that were swirling earlier this week that Viacom (VNV) was considering putting up to $1.5 billion on the table to acquire Take Two Interactive (TTWO), publisher of the year’s first mega blockbuster hit, Grand Theft Auto IV. Rockstar Games, the series’ maker, has a knack for creating lucrative and innovative franchises that so regularly court controversy – thank you ManHunt and Bully – they make Britney Spears look like a choir girl. (They also make the recent Mass Effect squabble look downright silly.)

However, in the wake of Electronic Arts’ (ERTS) acquisition spree and the Activision-Blizzard (ATVI) hook up, Take Two’s first rate intellectual property has prompted speculation, despite the company’s stumbling. The question, as one analyst put it to me, is who is going to have the chutzpah to swallow Take Two, good alongside the not-so-good? Viacom’s interest in beefing up its game offerings seem to some to make it a possible match. But, sources inside the company told both outlets speculators need to take a chill pill, Viacom isn’t interested.