As we reported just 5 days ago, Take-Two Interactive is now facing a hostile takeover bid by gaming giant EA.

But its worse fears have been confirmed - EA is after the Grand Theft Auto series, including the soon to be released fourth incarnation of the game, which is already being predicted as one of the year's big sellers.

EA chief executive John Riccitiello told the BBC that the developer, Rockstar Games (the one that's had all of the trouble with Manhunt 2) and its franchise Grand Theft Auto is the "primary interest" of EA's takeover bid.

Mr Riccitiello said: "I believe the company is fully justified in calling themselves Rockstar because that's what they are in this industry".

Take-Two categorically rejected EA's $2 billion offer last month saying that EA was only going for it because it knew that GTA IV was to arrive on 29 April - something EA has now admitted.

But now EA is targeting shareholders directly.

Take Two consists of four of the best studios in the industry: Rockstar, makers of Grand Theft Auto; Irrational, makers of Bioshock; Firaxis, home to Sid Meir and Civilization and Visual Concepts, makers of sport titles.

Riccitiello also brushed off the theory that, if EA takes over, games developers could leave EA-owned Rockstar in droves.

He added: "In case of Rockstar I would point out that the leaders are young, vibrant, they're talented and committed".

"And what we have got right now is a corporate issue that has nothing to do with the people who build these games."