MANDALAY BAY HOTEL AND CASINO OPENS IN LAS VEGAS
Steve Marcus  /  Reuters file
“The terms of the MGM Mirage proposal asked Mandalay shareholders to bear a far disproportionate share of the risk. It is not in the best interest of Mandalay shareholders,” Mandalay Resort Group president and CFO Glenn Schaeffer said late Friday.
updated 6/11/2004 6:43:41 PM ET 2004-06-11T22:43:41

Mandalay Resort Group rejected MGM Mirage Inc.’s $4.85 billion cash buyout offer that would have created the largest casino company in the world, saying Friday that the $68-per-share bid was insufficient.

“The terms of the MGM Mirage proposal asked Mandalay shareholders to bear a far disproportionate share of the risk. It is not in the best interest of Mandalay shareholders,” Glenn Schaeffer, president and chief financial officer of Mandalay Resort Group, said in a statement.

A week of intense negotiations stalled Thursday when MGM Mirage declined to raise its offer, but a source close to the negotiations said the “deal killer” was an early morning e-mail sent Friday to Mandalay from MGM Mirage requesting a 15-month option to pull out of the deal.

During that time, Mandalay would have been prevented from making any financial or strategic moves, the source said.

Mandalay’s board met and voted against the proposal early Friday. The company was also concerned because of regulatory issues that could force the possible selling off of casino properties, which would effect the economics of the deal.

A spokesman with MGM Mirage could not immediately be reached for comment.

MGM, whose properties include the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino and Bellagio, surprised the market by going public with the offer June 4 amid friendly, but unsolicited talks with Mandalay.

Investors sent Mandalay shares surging, in anticipation of a better offer, from MGM or another bidder, but neither surfaced.

Manadalay owns and operates 11 casinos in Nevada, including Luxor and Circus Circus. The blockbuster combination would have given MGM Mirage control of 10 properties on the famous Las Vegas Strip, owning about half the 73,000 hotel rooms of the world’s premier gambling market. The company would surpass rivals Harrah’s Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment, with more than $6 billion in revenues.

Experts had questioned the considerable influence MGM Mirage would have wielded under the deal.

“Too much pricing power puts consumers at significant disadvantage, and MGM Mirage could intimidate smaller competitors,” said Bill Eadington, an economics professor who directs the Institute for the Study of Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Marc Falcone, a Deutsche Bank gambling analyst in New York, said the last-minute MGM Mirage request for a 15-month option would have prevented Mandalay from building a property or merging with another casino. Falcone said the regulatory issues were also a concern.

“Wall Street completely discounted any potential regulatory risk,” Falcone said. “But it was by no means a certainty that the regulators would or would not require any asset sales on the basis of concentration issues in Las Vegas.”

In rejecting the offer, Schaeffer said, “Mandalay’s earnings power is on a decided upswing, represented by a string of record quarterly results. Our track record for expansion, innovation and strong profit margins speaks well for our strong future.”

Last week, Mandalay reported that first-quarter earnings almost doubled to $87.3 million, as revenues rose 18 percent, surpassing analysts’ expectations.

Analysts speculated that the bidding for Mandalay could reach as high as $80 per share. But once it was disclosed that the $68-per-share offer came at the end of friendly, but unsolicited negotiations, analysts revised and sharply lowered their estimates.

Mandalay’ stock traded at $68.42 Thursday, slightly above MGM’s offering price and off a recent high of $70.23 hit Monday. MGM Mirage’s stock closed at $47.60 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. markets were closed Friday in observance of the national day of mourning for President Reagan.

MGM Mirage owns or operates 12 casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Michigan and Australia, and has investments in two other resorts in Nevada and New Jersey. It has a 25 percent interest in British casino developer Metro Casinos Ltd.

Mandalay Resort Group has about 15,000 rooms on the Strip. It has ownership in other properties in Nevada, Illinois and Michigan, and owns a hotel-casino in Tunica County, Miss. Mandalay Resort Group rejected MGM Mirage Inc.’s $4.85 billion cash buyout offer that would have created the largest casino company in the world, saying Friday that the $68 per share bid was insufficient.

“The terms of the MGM Mirage proposal asked Mandalay shareholders to bear a far disproportionate share of the risk. It is not in the best interest of Mandalay shareholders,” Glenn Schaeffer, president and chief financial officer of Mandalay Resort Group, said in a statement.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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