Bollenbach doing quite well

February 13, 2001 7:00 AM
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By Ray Poirier & Jim Barrows

Steve Bollenbach, who, with the late Arthur Goldberg, engineered the separation of the gaming arm of Hilton Hotels Inc. (HLT) into Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE), continues to benefit from the move.

As chairman of PPE (in addition to being president and CEO of Hilton), Bollenbach was granted stock options exercisable at the price of $6.79 each. With the stock selling on the open market at nearly twice that price last year, Bollenbach took advantage of market conditions to the tune of $20,589,853.

According to Multex Investor Network, which tracks so-called "Insider Trades," Bollenbach began this year by selling three million shares Feb. 9, which he acquired at $6.79 by exercising options. Total proceeds at a sale price of $10.60 were $11,443,900.

On Nov. 7, he picked up another 200,000 shares and sold them at $12.86 for a $2,583,574 profit. Again, on Nov. 8, he optioned 25,600 shares and sold them for $149,504. The next day, he exercised options on 773,500 shares but sold only 523,500, to develop proceeds of $6,412,875.

Over the past 52 weeks, the market price of a share of Park Place Entertainment has ranged from $9.43 to $15.37.

Job training
at Rancho Mirage

The $80 million Agua Caliente Casino is on schedule to open by May 15, with construction crews clearing out next month and employee training to begin.

The casino is being built by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuila Indians. It will be at the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road, where the tribe is spending $1.3 million on road widening and I-10 off-ramp improvements; and another $3.1 million to widen the streets.

Magna reports
tracks loss

Magna Entertainment, one of the largest operators of U.S. racetracks, says its fourth quarter earnings will fall below earlier estimates.

As a result of severance and relocation costs associated with its move from Santa Monica to Ontario, Calif., the company said it expects to report a loss of 11½ cents a share for the quarter and income of one cent per share for the year. The company said it would issue a full report Feb. 19.

Bureau wants
more funding

The Nevada Commission on Tourism is asking state lawmakers for a budget increase of $24.8 million, up 11%. The commission said it would promote and expand its tourist base.

The request was prompted by the rapid spread of Native American gaming in California, which could siphon off 22% of Reno’s revenue growth and 15% of Laughlin’s by the year 2004.

Down Under
casinos prosper

Gaming revenue at Australia’s 13 casinos hit a record $2.39 billion last year, an increase of 8% over the previous year. The Australian newspaper said about 40 million people visited the casinos, down slightly from the year before. The casinos paid $479 million in taxes, an increase of 6%.

Big sale

Kirk Kerkorian, the largest shareholder in MGM Mirage (MGG), has sold nearly two million shares of its common stock for $56.8 million. He also owns 93 million shares through his Tracinda Corp.

Kerkorian said he might sell more shares from time to time.

Boomtown booms

Boomtown Hotel Casino in Verdi, Nev., had a record year, according to Bruce Hinckley, CFO for its parent, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK). Revenues for the year were $94.1 million, an increase of $13.7 million over the previous year,

Boomtown Hotel occupancy reached 87% for the year, 21% better than the year before.

Pinnacle’s earnings were impacted by bad weather at its Belterra Casino Resort and Casino Magic Bossier City properties. The company’s $1.3 billion sale to Colony Capital fell through in January.

It reported a loss of 23 cents a share during its fourth quarter versus a profit of 15 cents a share a year ago.

The company said it expects a return to profitability this year with projected net income of 55 to 66 cents a share, despite an anticipated break-even first quarter.

Revenues double

Acres Gaming Inc. (AGAM) reported revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31 of $10.2 million, nearly double that recorded for the year-ago quarter. Net income for the period was 17 cents a share versus nine cents a year ago.

The company said the gains were mainly from Acres Advantage products in Station Casinos, MGM Mirage and Mandalay Resort Group properties and five tribal casinos in California. It said at year-end, it had $5.5 million in cash and equivalents and no debt.

Mall for sale

TrizecHanh Corp. of Toronto said it will sell its majority stake in the Desert Passage mall at the Aladdin on the Las Vegas Strip "between late 2002 and 2004," along with Los Angeles projects Hollywood & Highland, and Paseo Colorado.

Chief executive Christopher Mackenzie said better value could be obtained when these are "completed and stabilized." Desert Passage had more than eight million visitors since opening last August.

Aztar growing

Aztar Corp. (AZR) says it plans to add 500 rooms and upwards of 50 shops, clubs and restaurants to its Tropicana hotel and casino in Atlantic City. The new tower, when completed after the summer of 2003, will give the casino a total of more than 2,200 rooms.

That’s more good news for the city, which wants to target an untapped market of 42 million adults living within 300 miles. MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming Corp. are building the $1 billion Borgata resort in the city’s marina district, and MGM Mirage plans another mega-resort next door to Borgata.

No deal

Lakes Gaming Inc. (LACO) and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians have mutually agreed to end their planning efforts for a casino development planned near Chico, Calif., 100 miles north of Sacramento. Lakes had previously announced a joint venture with MRD Gaming to develop the casino.

Lakes Gaming still plans to develop and manage, among others, a casino close to Sacramento for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwoc Indians. It also has a joint venture agreement with MRD Gaming to develop Las Vegas Strip property next to the Harley-Davidson Café and Polo Towers.


The ‘immortal’ Mr. Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, President and CEO of The Venetian, will be immortalized in wax for Madame Tussaud’s museum. The Vegas visionary on Monday was photographed and measured by Tussaud artists, who will complete the wax portrait in six months. "It’s an honor," Adelson said, adding he’d like to be around through eternity to enjoy it!