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Shuffle Master looks to find a successor for CEO Yoseloff

Dec 11, 2007 5:35 AM

At the recent Las Vegas Convention Center gathering for G2E 2007, there didn’t appear anyone more active than Mark Yoseloff as he demonstrated some of the newer products being offered by Shuffle Master Inc. (SHFL).

Yet, if the information revealed Monday by gaming analyst Bill Lerner of Deutsche Bank North America is correct, Dr. Mark is in the process of being replaced as company chairman and CEO.

Lerner, in a research report, said he had learned the company had hired a search firm to find a replacement for Yoseloff and that he was cooperating with the search.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report from the company.

Reportedly, Yoseloff, who has been with the company for the past decade, has admitted that the revenue growth the company experienced under his leadership had just about peaked and that it was time for the company to seek out new strengths with a new CEO.

"Yoseloff’s strength has clearly been product development," Lerner wrote, "and we’d expect for him to remain affiliated with the company in some type of product strategy and development capacity once a replacement is named."

Lerner said he felt the company’s free cash flow as well as its strong utility and entertainment-based product line would make the company attractive to potential takeover candidates.

Investors took immediate notice of the analyst’s posting and pushed the share price up more than 5% in early trading. At day’s end, Monday, the shares were trading at $12.31 after a gain of $0.64 per share.

Bylaw change

MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM) has notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that its directors have approved a corporate amendment dealing with the establishment of an executive committee.

The amendment also authorizes the board to appoint one of the members of the executive committee to be chairman and added the position of chief design and construction officer as an elected officer of the company.

The board named Terry Lanni, corporate chairman and CEO, to be chairman of the executive committee. Joining him are Kirk Kerkorian, Bobby Baldwin, Anthony Mandekic, Rose McKinney-James, Jim Murren, Daniel Taylor and Melvin Wolzinger.

”˜Pay up’

Donald Trump screamed last week that he wanted his money, that is the tax dispute money Atlantic City had agreed to pay Trump Entertainments Resorts (TRMP) until the new mayor decided to renege on the agreement.

Trump took the matter to court. On Friday, a state tax judge handed Trump his $34 million.

The deal that settled 19 tax appeals the company had made over the years was overturned by newly-seated Mayor Scott Evans who said he felt the settlement was overly-generous. He said the city administration should have taken more than the three weeks it took to review the proposal.

But the tax judge ruled that the city would have to pay up or face $9,000 a day costs and interest and possibly sanctions for defying the ruling. The check was cut immediately.

Where’s the money?

If the New York State comptroller’s interpretation of state law is accurate, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has shortchanged the taxpayers $54 million in franchise fees since 2000.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says his recently-completed audit of the racetrack operator’s books show that the association has shorted the fees by $10.9 million just in the 2004-2005 operating year.

He blames NYRA’s misinterpretation of the mathematical formula established to calculate the franchise fees. That is disputed by the racing operators who say it is the state that is misreading the law.

The dispute could not come at a worse time for NYRA whose 25-year franchise expires at the end of this month.

New York lawmakers will meet in special session this week to attempt to resolve the franchise problem.

Company sold

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., the parent company of TVG, the country’s most popular advanced wagering system for horse players, has been sold to Macrovision Corp.

Less known Macrovision Corp. develops technology to prevent unauthorized copying and viewing of video, music and other content.

The $2.8 billion sale price will be paid in cash and stock with shareholders of Gemstar-TV Guide receiving $6.35 per share in cash.

The impact the sale would have on TVG was not known. The acquiring company said it will conduct an "in-depth" analysis of the combined business.

THE INSIDER: Atlantic City casinos continued to see declines in business during the month of November. Revenues for all casinos fell 7.7% with beleaguered Tropicana Casino and Resort tumbling 21.1% after being smeared during regulators’ hearings. The only casinos to show improvement over the previous year were Resorts Atlantic City, up 3.5%; The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, up 2.1%, and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, up 0.5%.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a $2.8 billion claim against Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York. The judgment was granted by a tribal court that found Harrah’s predecessor Park Place Entertainment interfered in the tribe’s plans to build a casino in the Catskill Mountains.

MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG) says it will begin operating 50 table games at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, W. Va., on Dec. 20.

Michael D. Sands, a former member of the Orbitz management team, has been named to the board of directors at Inc. (UBET).

Analysts at Calyon Securities Inc. have initiated coverage of Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) with an "add" rating and a $44 per share price target.

Guam voters will decide next month whether to approve slot machines for the Tamuning Greyhound Park.

Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) has filed a second application for a casino license in Kansas. The second lcoation is in Sumner County. Also, the Kansas regulators have rejected a proposal by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) for a $500 million casino in Wyandotte County.

A county judge in Oklahoma has ruled that two slot machines owned by Multimedia Games Corp. (MGAM) should be classified as Class III machines and not as Class II machines.