Harrah’s says buyout set to close Jan. 28

Harrah’s Entertainment, a Las Vegas casino operator, on Monday said its $17.7 billion buyout by private equity buyers Apollo Management of New York and TPG Capital of Fort Worth, Texas, is set to close Jan. 28.

Harrah’s recently extended the contract of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman, saying he’ll keep those jobs once the buyout closes.

Harrah’s Entertainment shares rose 80 cents, or 0.9 percent, Monday to close at $89.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.


MTR Gaming sells Speedway property

MTR Gaming Group said Monday that it has completed the sale of property owned by its Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas for about $11 million.

In a statement, it said the sale to Ganaste LLC does not include the gambling operations. Those operations will be sold to Lucky Lucy D LLC in a separate transaction worth nearly $7 million. MTR said Lucky Lucy’s sole owner is a Ganaste shareholder who recently passed Nevada Gaming Commission scrutiny in an unrelated transaction.

The sale is pending regulatory approval.

Speakeasy Gaming of Las Vegas, an MTR Gaming subsidiary, will continue to operate the casino under a short-term lease.

MTR said Ganaste has agreed to spend $3 million to upgrade the property over the next three years.

Contract extended for Planet Hollywood chief

Planet Hollywood Resort Chief Executive Officer and President Michael Mecca signed an employment agreement extending his position until March 31, 2013, according to federal filings released on Monday.

He will receive an annual base salary of $571,725 with annual bonuses determined by a combination of company cash flow and performance evaluation by the board of directors.

The 58-year-old Mecca has held the position at the hotel-casino, formerly the Aladdin, since 2003.


Landing fees may shift with altered policy

Congested airports nationwide can charge landing fees based on the time flights land and traffic volume instead of on the plane’s weight, according to a federal policy introduced Monday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said the policy will make it easier for airports to reduce delays by encouraging airlines to spread their flights more evenly throughout the day.

Some analysts say that while the new fees will encourage competition among airports, consumers ultimately will foot the bill.

Airline arrival rates through November were the second worst since comparable data began being collected in 1995, the Transportation Department said earlier this month. The new policy will encourage congested airports in New York and elsewhere to include the cost of projects designed to expand capacity in the new landing fees now instead of after construction has been completed, Peters said.

There are no plans to change the fee structure at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, but Clark County aviation officials wouldn’t rule it out as the airport gets busier.

“Peak pricing is not something the Clark County Department of Aviation is currently considering,” airport spokesman Chris Jones said. “If peaks become more frequent as McCarran nears its projected capacity, we would have to carefully weigh how such a change might impact customer service at the airport.”


IBM’s preliminary results boost stocks

Wall Street advanced sharply Monday, with solid preliminary results from IBM encouraging investors to go back into the stock market after last week’s rout.

International Business Machines Corp., one of the 30 Dow Jones industrials, released preliminary earnings estimates for the fourth quarter that were 24 percent above year-earlier levels. The results also beat the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow gained 178.92, or 1.42 percent, to 12,785.22. IBM was the biggest gainer in the Dow, rising $5.98, or 6.1 percent, to $103.65.

Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 15.01, or 1.07 percent, to 1,416.03 and the Nasdaq composite index shot up 40.97, or 1.68 percent, to 2,480.91.


Interest rates decline in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction with rates on six-month bills dropping to the lowest level in nearly three years.

The Treasury Department auctioned $20 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 3.08 percent, down from 3.18 percent last week. Another $18 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 2.95 percent, down from 3.17 percent last week.


Treasury prices mixed as stocks rebound

Treasury prices ended mixed Monday after investors turned their attention back to stocks, and bonds forfeited some of their allure of safety.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note closed unchanged at 103.72 with a yield of 3.79 percent, the same level where it ended late Friday.

The 30-year long bond gained 0.25 points to 110.28 with a yield of 4.37 percent, down form 4.38 percent late Friday. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.


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