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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta
 

Group May Appeal Web Site Ruling

2 February 2005

Officials of the Greenspun Media Group will decide by next week whether they plan to appeal a Clark County judge's ruling Tuesday that allows the owner of the lasvegas.com Internet site to reacquire the leasing rights to the site.

Brian Greenspun, president and treasurer of parent company The Greenspun Corporation, said today that Greenspun Media Group is evaluating whether it would appeal Judge David Wall's ruling that enables the Stephens Media Intellectual Property LLC, a subsidiary of the Arkansas-based company that owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal, to acquire the site from LAS Travel, a company formed by Caesars Entertainment Inc., and the Mandalay Resort Group.

Last year Caesars and Mandalay agreed to sell LAS Travel and its leasing rights to the lasvegas.com name to VEGAS.com, an Internet site operated by Greenspun Media Group.

A suit filed by the hotel companies asked a judge to declare which Internet company should be entitled to acquire the rights to the domain name after a dispute arose over the VEGAS.com buyout.

According to the original agreement between Stephens and the two hotel companies, LAS Travel or its owners had the right to transfer their interest in the domain name to the Greenspun Media Group, which also owns the Las Vegas Sun.

Under terms of the agreement, if a deal was to be made with the Greenspun Media Group, a "notice of intent" was to be sent to Stephens Media. The agreement also stated that Stephens would then have a 30-day option to acquire the controlling interest in LAS Travel "at the price and on the same terms set forth in the notice of intent."

If Stephens Media failed to exercise its option, the agreement said, controlling interest in LAS Travel could be transferred to the Greenspun Media Group.

Court records say that in July Greenspun Media offered $12 million for the rights to the lasvegas.com name. Stephens was issued the "notice of intent" a day after the offer was made. On Aug. 19, Sherman Frederick, president of Stephens Media, sent a letter exercising the company's option rights. But on Aug. 24, VEGAS.com President Howard Lefkowitz responded that the Stephens bid did not match the terms of the VEGAS.com offer.

At issue was whether the Stephens response constituted a matching offer.

Wall's ruling Tuesday indicated that Stephens had properly exercised its right of first refusal to buy the rights back from LAS Travel.