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CEO seeks to buy rest of Landry's

January 30, 2008|From the Associated Press

HOUSTON — Landry's Restaurants Inc. boss Tilman Fertitta has proposed to buy the remaining 61% stake in the national restaurant, hotel and casino company and make it a private business.

Fertitta owns 39% of the company he runs as chairman, president and chief executive. He wants to buy the rest at $23.50 a share, a 41% premium over Friday's closing price, the company said Tuesday.

Landry's board of directors has formed a special committee of independent directors to review Fertitta's offer. Executives said the committee also had been authorized to review any alternative proposals.

With 16.1 million shares outstanding as of Nov. 5, the offer for the shares he doesn't own would cost Fertitta about $380 million. Including debt, the value of the deal is $1.3 billion.

"A long-term focus will provide the company with greater flexibility to meet the challenges of intensifying competition, shortage of workers, escalating real estate costs and the risk of new entrants to the market," said Steve Scheinthal, Landry's executive vice president and general counsel.

Houston-based Landry's, which became a public company in 1993, owns the Golden Nugget casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev.; and the Inn at the Ballpark in Houston and other hotels. It also owns Landry's Seafood House, Saltgrass Steakhouse, Rainforest Cafe, Chart House, Cadillac Bar, Willie G's, Grotto, Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse and other restaurants.

Landry's shares fell 75 cents, or 3.7%, to $19.70.

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