Thursday, November 16, 2006


The WSJ reports that Carl Icahn and Macklowe Properties were last night preparing a $4.6bn bid for Reckson Associates Realty (RA), potentially spoiling Reckson's existing but embattled takeover deal with SL Green Realty. A personal investment vehicle of Mr. Icahn and Macklowe are set to offer $49 in cash for each share of Reckson. The offer would top a previous deal between Reckson and SL Green, in which SL Green offered about $44.89, valued at $4.13bn in total. The Icahn/Macklowe offer represents about a 9% premium to the SL Green deal.

According to the “Heard on the Street” column, two co’s whose casinos are better-known to Las Vegas locals than to the tourists have spent well over $1bn turning nondescript gambling halls into glitzy resorts. So far, their bets haven't worked out as they hoped. Station Casinos (STN) and Boyd Gaming (BYD) have long catered to pple who live in town. Boyd posted an unexpected loss for the 3Q, largely b/c of the sale of a poorly performing new casino. Station reduced its 4Q and ‘07 full-year guidance, after 18 straight qrtrs of meeting or exceeding ests. There are signs that the costly new showplaces aren't bringing in new business. Not only are the co’s undermining each others' newest offerings, they are also hurting established ones. Excluding Station's newest casinos, Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch, EBITDA for its 14 other Vegas-area casinos were down 11% yoy. What's more, their casino arms race has been eclipsed by grander projects from gambling titans Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, whose Wynn Las Vegas and Venetian casinos cater mostly to tourists. "While we had forecast the earnings miss, the magnitude was greater than we had expected," said Dennis Forst, of KeyBanc, who saw the Station miss as a sign that supply has outstripped demand, at least for now. "This gives further credence to our thesis that the Las Vegas locals mkt has slowed dramatically."

According to the Barron’s Online, all signs are indicating that there is more biotech M&A deals coming. "A takeout should be pure upside, but it's not a good enough reason to buy a stock," says John Chambers, of Rodman & Renshaw. "Investors should buy shares of co’s that are good bets whether they get taken out or stand alone." Keen to plump up weak pipelines or enter new mkts, large drug co’s are once again gobbling up smaller drug makers, taking advantage of the selloff in biotech stocks earlier this year. Small biotechs mentioned include: KERX, DNDN, NUVO and CTRX.

“Inside Scoop” section reports that Sultan Center for Trading and General Contracting, disclosed it holds a 5.05% stake in Wild Oats (OATS) with 1.488m shares. Ben Silverman, of, says that Sultan's stake is notable b/c of the potential strategic implications. "I don't think Wild Oats is looking to the Middle East as an expansion opportunity logistically," but he says Sultan may bring the US chain's organic style "to their own country and utilize their ownership there to foster some relationship in importing goods."

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