New owner for Binion’s, if offer is accepted

Dec 6, 2005 3:46 AM

If the takeover offer is accepted, Binion’s downtown Las Vegas gambling hall may have a new owner in the near future. Well, almost”¦

Two executives of MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG), owner of Binion’s, Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia, and a small casino in North Las Vegas, have proposed to buy the company for $258.4 million and take it private.

Involved in the buyout are Ted Arneault, president and CEO of MTR Gaming Group Inc., and Bob Blatt, its executive vice president.

The proposal is of the executives to pay $9.50 per share in cash for at least 90% of the company’s 27.2 million outstanding shares.

Following the announcement, MTNG shares rose in value some 23% or $1.84 to close at $9.73 on Friday.

If the buyout offer is accepted by a committee of four independent directors, the new operating name of the company will be TBR Acquisition Group LLC.

United Tote sale

Youbet.com (UBET), the Internet wagering company, has agreed to acquire United Tote, the privately held totalizator company, for $49 million. The acquisition is expected to close within 60 days.

United Tote, a company that started 45 years ago by providing pari-mutuel wagering services to county fairs, particularly in the Southwest, has grown to a level where it services 94 racetrack in North America, including the New York Racing Association and Churchill Downs.

The company also provides betting facilities to 11 foreign countries including Korea, Mexico and Hong Kong.

Youbet.com has been expanding its wagering universe and recently bought International Racing Group, a Curacao-based account wagering service that caters to high-volume players. Both Youbet.com and IRG utilize betting hubs licensed in the state of Oregon.

In addition to its wagering services, United Tote has also been developing new content for its customers. Recently, it introduced Fanta-Bet, a wagering game that will permit players to compete against each other for daily prizes.

Wall Street reaction to the purchase appeared to be negative as the price of the UBET shares fell some 20% from the middle $5 range to $4.53 in trading on Monday.

Icahn in action

Score one for Wall Street investor Carl Icahn!

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET), that recently announced it planned to build major Las Vegas-styled casino in Spain and Slovenia, said it has agreed to sell both the Flamingo Laughlin Hotel/Casino and a parcel of land in Atlantic City to Icahn’s American Real Estate partners L.P., the owner of the Stratosphere, the two Arizona Charlie’s facilities in Las Vegas and the Sands Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City.

Price tag for the sale was given as $170 million in cash.