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Aristocrat Takeover Interest Reported

16 June 2003

SYDNEY, Australia -- Geoffrey Ainsworth, a member of the Ainsworth family that owns 40 percent of Aristocrat Leisure Ltd., has been approached by people claiming to represent U.S. rival slot maker WMS Industries Inc. to discuss a takeover, the Australian Financial Review reported.

People claiming to represent WMS, which has a market value of $518 million, about twice the size of Aristocrat, approached Ainsworth to discuss a possible bid, he told the newspaper.

Taking over the Sydney-based slot maker would propel Waukegan, Ill.-based WMS to the second largest share of the U.S. and international slot markets, the paper said.

Shares of Aristocrat, which slumped 76 percent after the company cut its profit forecast for the third time since February because of a drop in sales, have rallied on speculation of a takeover offer. The stock has gained 24 percent since May 28 when it hit a five-year low of 89 Australian cents.

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