DETROIT -- State gaming officials on Wednesday approved
Marian Ilitch's bid to buy out her partners in MotorCity Casino and
become the sole owner of the venture, which takes in more than $400
million in revenue annually.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board approved the bid on a 4-0
MotorCity, which is owned by Mandalay Resort Group, was sold
because of the pending merger between MGM Mirage Inc. and Mandalay.
MGM already owns Detroit's MGM Grand Casino, and Michigan law
prohibits the company from owning more than one casino in the city.
Detroit has three casinos.
Ilitch is the wife of Mike Ilitch, the slightly more visible
half of the business team that started in 1959 with the opening of
a pizza parlor in suburban Detroit. That first Little Caesars
restaurant flourished into one of the biggest national pizza
chains. The Ilitches' companies, which include hockey's Detroit Red Wings and baseball's Detroit Tigers, had combined revenue in excess
of $1 billion last year.
Marian Ilitch, vice chairwoman of Ilitch Holdings Inc., who
owned 25 percent of MotorCity, is paying $525 million for the 53.5
percent stake in the casino. She also is buying an 11.5 percent
stake held by Atwater Entertainment, a group of more than 100 local
investors, as well as the remaining 10 percent from another local
investor, Tom Celani.
The sale is contingent on the completion of the MGM-Mandalay
merger, expected by June 30.
Shares of Mandalay closed unchanged at $70.62 in trading
Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, near the high end of a
52-week range of $50.44 to $72.80. Shares of MGM Mirage rose $1.07
to close at $75.05 on the NYSE, near the high end of a 52-week
range of $39.61 to $79.60.