IGT eyes roulette with product from Austrian firm

Oct 24, 2006 5:39 AM

Looking to expand its product line to include roulette, International Game Technology (IGT) announced Monday that it had acquired certain intellectual property from Novomatic AG, the Austrian-based gaming company, for use in its multi-station gaming products.

The company said it also had a supplier agreement that will make certain Novomatic roulette equipment parts available to IGT for its new roulette product.

"After discussions with several companies," the IGT statement read, "we found that Novomatic’s technology and design approach for multi-station products was the right choice for IGT.

And a Novomatic spokesman added, "The Novo Unity multi-station platform technology acquired by IGT is the culmination of intensive R&D activities that have been ongoing since the presentation of the first Novomatic multi-station roulette product in 1997."

London offer

The acquirer rather than the acquired, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) continued its pursuit of London Clubs International Plc by sweetening its offer on Friday by 8% to $2.75 per share or $570 million.

Apparently the move was exactly what Genting International Plc of Malaysia was waiting for. Immediately following the Harrah’s announcement, Genting said it would agree to sell its 29.6% of the outstanding shares at the revised offer.

Initially, Harrah’s had set Sept. 26 as the final date that its tender offer would be valid. The offer was extended to Oct. 17 and just last week the date was extended a second time to Nov. 6.

As for the London Clubs directors, they unanimously recommended that all shareholders accept the initial offer. Genting, however, the largest outside shareholder failed to respond to the $2.33 per share offer.

London Clubs International currently operates seven casinos in the United Kingdom and has four others under development. The company also runs two casinos in Egypt and one in South Africa.

For the past few years, Harrah’s has been looking for an entry into the British gaming market and chose the buyout offer as the most expeditious move.

"The strong collection of LCI properties would put Harrah’s in a strong position to take advantage of the evolving regulatory framework in the United Kingdom," remarked Gary Loveman, Harrah’s chairman and CEO.

"The multi-national operational experience of the LCI’s management strengthens Harrah’s existing team, enhancing the success for international expansion opportunities," he added.

Meanwhile, the was no announcement from Harrah’s management relative to the buyout offer from the partnership of the Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group for a reported $83.50 per share.

Warning

Harrah’s Entertainment officials are warning shareholders that it does not endorse a mini-tender offer made by TRC Capital Corporation.

The company said it received notice of the unsolicited mini-tender offer to purchase up to one million shares of its common stock, a total that represents approximately one-half of one percent of the shares outstanding.

Stockholders are cautioned, said the company, that TRC Capital’s offer of $73 per share was more than 2% below the $74.53 per share closing price of the shares on Oct. 18, the day before the offer commenced.

Harrah’s urged investors to obtain current market quotations for their shares, to consult with their brokers or financial advisors and to exercise caution with respect to the mini-offer. Those that have tendered their shares already are advised to withdraw their shares with a written notice to TRC Capital prior to Nov. 17.

TRC Capital has made similar mini-offers for other companies in the past.

Harrah’s Entertainment explained that these offers avoid many disclosures and procedural requirements of the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Internet losses

The congressional action that banned the transfer of funds to other countries in payment of Internet gambling markers has cost a pair of London-based online gaming company more than $600 million.

Affected were Sportingbet Plc. which announced it had sold its Internet gaming operation to a Caribbean-based company for $1 and was taking a charge of $393 million, and PartyGaming Plc., the world’s biggest online gaming group, that planned to take a one-time charge of $250 million after closing its U.S. operations.

Earlier this year, the Sportingbet lost its chairman, Peter Dicks, who resigned after being detained by New York customs officials on a Louisiana warrant.

He was the second British online gaming executive to face the state regulators who charged them with violating gaming laws in this country.

In another fallout, Nicholas Watkins resigned his post as CEO of Gamingking Plc., another British online gambling company.

Earnings reports

The following gaming companies have listed the dates on which they will report their quarterly earnings. They are:

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6 a.m. PDT.

Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. (DDE) on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 a.m. PDT.

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. (TRMP) on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 8 a.m. PST.

Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV) on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. PST.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at l:30 p.m. PST.

Station Casinos Inc. (STN) on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. PST.

International Game Technology (IGT) on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6 a.m. PST.

Youbet.com (UBET) on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at l:30 p.m. PST.

Hanky-panky

Another black eye for greyhound racing: Thirteen people have been arrested in Mobile, Ala., charged with fixing the dog races at Mobile Greyhound Park.

According to County District Atty. John Tyson, Jr., three track employees are accused of giving the greyhounds an herbal concoction which acted to exhaust the greyhounds by race time. The herbal concoction that is available at most health food stores was not identified.

Included in the group that has been charged are three track employees including the kennel master, the paddock judge and a leadout. Two trainers were also charged.

Officials said that by slowing down the obvious favorites in the race the conspirators could bet on the other race contestants, thus duping the general public who did not have a legitimate chance to win.

The greyhound racing sport has declined in popularity in recent years and has been affected by activist groups such as PETA.