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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

Control Board Meetings on MGM, Mandalay Buyout Set

16 February 2005

Nevada's gaming regulators have set special meetings to consider the combination of MGM Mirage and the Mandalay Resort Group, an indication that federal regulators are close to reaching a decision on the $7.9 billion deal.

Regulators posted meeting notices for the state Gaming Control Board for 10 a.m., Tuesday, and for the Nevada Gaming Commission on Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. Both meetings will be conducted in Las Vegas.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said today the Federal Trade Commission has indicated it would reach a decision by the end of the week on the deal that would dramatically change the ownership mix on the Las Vegas Strip.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said today that his company has not received any notification from the FTC on the decision.

"We have not heard anything formally, but we're expecting something very soon," he said.

Approvals from the FTC and Nevada regulators are the last major hurdles that need to be cleared for the ownership of the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus properties to come under the same umbrella with the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island resorts, Feldman said.

The merger, first disclosed in June, was one of two blockbuster merger deals involving Strip properties last summer. Within weeks of the announcement of the MGM Mirage-Mandalay deal, Harrah's Entertainment Inc. unveiled a $9.4 billion plan to acquire Caesars Entertainment Inc. That deal is expected to be reviewed by regulators by the second quarter.

The only other state regulators needed to sign off on the MGM Mirage-Mandalay merger are in Mississippi and Feldman said they already have given the deal its blessing. Several other states would require licensing applications when MGM Mirage takes control of Mandalay.

The special meetings next week include a series of requests including suitability applications for corporate officers, amending stock registrations and securities placements and amended licensing of managers and key executives.

The various licensing requests include findings on dozens of holding companies and subsidiaries for every Mandalay resort statewide, including three in Primm and two in Laughlin as well as the other Las Vegas properties. The state's investigation also deals with various investments Mandalay has on real estate and other holding companies.

Control Board Meetings on MGM, Mandalay Buyout Set is republished from