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Neck And Neck At Santa Anita


In Business This Week: HEADLINER: DA-HOSS

NECK AND NECK AT SANTA ANITA

There hasn't been much action lately at the $2 window at Santa Anita, the fabled but money-losing California track. Rather, the hottest wagering is on the race to control the track itself.

First out of the gate was investor Thomas Barrack Jr., a former Bass brothers lieutenant on the board of Santa Anita Cos., which operates the track and a real estate investment trust. Santa Anita agreed on Aug. 19 to sell a 45% stake to Barrack's Colony Capital for $138 million, or $15 per share. The company hoped to use the capital to fund other leisure and entertainment businesses, and to counter stagnant racing revenues. Santa Anita lost $27.5 million in 1995.

Coming up on the outside, though, is Leon Black. Last month, a partnership backed by the former Drexel Burnham Lambert dealmaker made an unsolicited $200 million offer, or $19 per share, for 55% of the track, hoping to develop some of the 400 acres around Santa Anita. With proxies nearly in the mail, the two sides seem headed for a photo finish before yearend.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS By Larry ArmstrongReturn to top

THE RJR RAIDERS: THEY'RE BA-ACK

BELEAGUERED RJR NABISCO spent much of the past year fending off Bennett LeBow's and Carl Icahn's bid to force a spin-off of its Nabisco foods business. Shareholders rejected a LeBow/Icahn-backed slate of directors in April--but now the pesky protagonists are back. On Nov. 4, Icahn announced a new slate of replacement directors he hopes shareholders will vote into power at the April, 1997, annual meeting. Icahn also announced he had recruited--for $333,333 a month--former PepsiCo Bottling executive Thomas Rattigan as a nominee to replace RJR chief Steven Goldstone. A day later, LeBow submitted his own director nominees. In a statement, RJR said that Icahn's slate is "a group of lawyers, consultants, and retired businesspeople with records that will not withstand scrutiny."EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

TI'S MISSILE BIZ GOES ON THE BLOCK

THOMAS ENGIBOUS WAS WARY of rocking the boat just after taking charge of Texas Instruments in June. No longer. Engibous is preparing to auction off TI's $1.7 billion missile-systems business, according to The Wall Street Journal. Analysts say a sale of the unit, which contributes about $170 million to annual operating profits, could bring $2 billion. Why now? TI needs cash to fund its fast-growing digital signal processing chip and laptop computer businesses. Beyond that, defense businesses are fetching hefty valuations these days. The company declined to comment.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

IS A BETTER CONRAIL BID GOOD ENOUGH?

CSX UPPED THE ANTE--BUT not a whole lot. Facing a rival bid for Conrail $1 billion higher than its own, CSX on Nov. 6 offered $110 a share, cash, for 40% of Conrail's stock, plus CSX shares worth about $80 for the rest. But CSX' depressed stock leaves the offer worth $8.26 billion, far short of Norfolk Southern's $9 billion bid. Conrail's board reaffirmed its preference for CSX. But it also postponed a planned Nov. 14 shareholders' meeting until mid-December, perhaps fearing investor wrath. Norfolk Southern said it would stick to its offer.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top


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