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IN BRIEF

Isle of Capri will take over management of Greektown

St. Louis-based regional casino operator Isle of Capri Casinos will take over management of the bankrupt Greektown Casino in Detroit.

The casino had been managed by the Las Vegas-based Fine Point Group, which had its contract expire Thursday.

The casino, which has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, filed a request Tuesday with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit seeking approval for Isle of Capri to be hired as a gaming consultant. The casino also would need approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Isle of Capri owns and operates casinos in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Isle of Capri of Michigan LLC would earn a management fee of $200,000 a month for six months and $250,000 per month in the following months. Pennsylvania’s governor is giving state lawmakers until Friday to reach an agreement on legalizing table games, and he’s holding the jobs of 1,100 state workers as hostage.

 

Pennsylvania governor sees casino revenue as budget help

Gov. Ed Rendell said he needs the tax revenues generated by Pennsylvania casinos to balance the state budget.

State media outlets have quoted Rendell as saying he needs to have a bill on his desk by this week or he will be forced to lay off up to 1,100 state workers.

The Pennsylvania Legislature was back in session Tuesday following a two-week holiday break. The passage of Senate Bill 711, which would legalize table games, is high on the agenda.

The state’s two statehouses disagree on allowing an additional resort gaming license.

Representatives for the majority parties in both houses were optimistic that a bill could get done this week. The bill would allow slot machine-only casinos, such as Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s casino in Bethlehem, to add table games with the revenues taxed initially at 14 percent. In 2011, the tax rate would decrease to 12 percent.

 

Another member resigns from American Casino board

Another board member of American Casino & Entertainment Properties has left the company, completing a washout of directors connected with the $1.8 billion buyout two years ago.

Jonathan Langer resigned Thursday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. His resignation follows Goldman Sachs managing partner Stuart Rothenberg’s resignation from the American Casinos board of directors in March and fellow managing partner Brahm Cramer’s exit in September.

Two new directors were elected Thursday, Richard Powers and Alan Kava, both managing directors and co-heads of the real estate principal investment area in the Americas of Goldman Sachs & Co.

The company owns the Stratosphere, both Arizona Charlie’s and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.

Google enters mobile-phone market with Nexus One

Google Inc. began selling its own mobile phone Tuesday, a much-anticipated move aimed at protecting its online advertising empire as people increasingly surf the Web on handsets instead of personal computers.

The Nexus One joins about 20 other mobile devices that already run on Android, the mobile operating system that Google introduced in 2007 to make it easier to connect to its services and other Web sites away from home or the office.

Google designed the touch-screen phone in partnership with Taiwan’s HTC Corp., which made the first Android-powered phone and will manufacture this one, too. Google will handle all sales online and has no plans to let consumers check out the Nexus One in retail stores.

The Nexus One has been in the hands of Google employees for the past three weeks, triggering media speculation and anticipation for the company’s first attempt to peddle a consumer electronics device.

LONDON

Buffett warns against planned Kraft Foods-Cadbury merger

Kraft Foods Inc.’s hostile bid for Cadbury PLC grew more contentious Tuesday as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sternly warned against the deal, even as Kraft sweetened its offer.

Kraft plans to sell its North American frozen pizza business, whose brands include Tombstone and DiGiorno, to Nestle SA for $3.7 billion. It plans to use the proceeds to raise the cash share of its bid for British candy maker Cadbury.

Berkshire Hathaway, Kraft’s largest shareholder, said later Tuesday morning that it voted against Kraft’s proposal to issue shares to finance part of the $16.5 billion bid, saying it was worried it gave Kraft a "blank check" to raise the bid even higher. Buffett previously has said Kraft’s prior offers were adequate for Cadbury.

 

Rising oil prices lead to pricier fill-ups for automobile drivers

The cost of filling up the car is rising in the wake of soaring crude. By this weekend, pump prices will race past the highs for all of 2009.

Tracing the ascension of crude, up 14 percent since mid-December, energy prices across the board are catching up.

Crude prices closed up 26 cents at $81.77 a barrel Tuesday, the highest settlement price on the New York Mercantile Exchange since Oct. 9, 2008.

In Las Vegas, the average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline was $2.733 on Tuesday, AAA said in its Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s up 1.3 percent from $2.699 a month a ago and up 52.7 percent from $1.79 a year ago, AAA said.

ATLANTA

Mesa Air Group goes ahead with threat to file bankruptcy

In May, Mesa Air Group Inc. warned it would file for bankruptcy if Delta Air Lines Inc. succeeded in canceling a flying contract with the regional carrier, which operates flights for major airlines. More than seven months later, despite blocking the move in court, Mesa filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday, hoping to shed planes it no longer needs.

Mesa’s filing is part of broader problems the airline has been experiencing with its operations as demand for air travel fell over the last year due to the economic downturn.

Contract carriers like Mesa have traditionally been able to maneuver through tough times because they have guaranteed revenue through deals with major airlines for which they feed passengers and handle connecting flights. But during the recession Mesa struggled operationally and faced friction with key partner Delta.

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