International Game Technology bids for gambling tech firm |

International Game Technology bids for gambling tech firm

LAS VEGAS (AP) – International Game Technology is trying to acquire gambling technology firm Venture Catalyst in a deal valued at nearly $21 million, a newspaper reported.

The Reno-based slot maker wants to buy Venture Catalyst’s Mariposa software system, a casino management tool that stores and manages customer information and wagering habits for use in marketing campaigns.

But IGT would sell back Venture Catalyst’s casino consulting business to its current management team, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in its Saturday editions.

The all-stock transaction calls for IGT to pay $2.58 a share for Venture Catalyst, whose stock trading is conducted over the counter.

Venture Catalyst shares closed Friday at $2.21, up 96 cents, or 76.8 percent.

The San Diego-based company said it gave IGT a 45-day exclusivity period to agree to the deal.

Pat Cavanaugh, IGT investor relations director, said acquisition of the Mariposa system would boost IGT’s systems division.

“It’s a great product, obviously something we would like to have,” Cavanaugh said.

Developed in 2001 by Venture Catalyst, the system is being used in nearly 20 casinos nationwide, including the Stratosphere and Las Vegas Hilton.

“In our opinion, Mariposa represents another arrow in IGT’s quiver and should benefit from IGT’s distribution system,” said Adam Steinberg, a Morgan Joseph gambling analyst.

“The purchase of Mariposa will help IGT broaden its systems group and provide another module to include with its slot management and back-office systems,” he said.

Mariposa allows casino hosts to track customers at any table game or machine they are playing.

Venture Catalyst, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said a committee of two board members would review the proposal with a financial advisor and legal counsel.

Venture Catalyst has been the gambling consultant to the Barona Band of Mission Indians in San Diego and the tribe’s large Barona Valley Ranch casino for 16 years.

Once the transaction is completed, Venture Catalyst’s management team would purchase the consulting business for $4.5 million in promissory notes.

“We would expect our relationship with the Barona tribe would continue,” said Kevin McIntosh, Venture Catalyst’s chief financial officer.

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