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LAS VEGAS-Tracinda Corp. on Monday launched its tender offer at $55 per share for up to 15 million shares of common stock of MGM Mirage. If successful, the investment arm of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian will spend $825 million to increase its stake in the publicly held casino company from 55.9% to 61.1% (173.39 million shares).

Tracinda announced its intention to raise its stake in the company on Nov. 22. The offer is scheduled to expire at 5 p.m. on Jan. 4, unless extended. The offer price represents an approximately 12.2% premium over MGM Mirage’s closing stock price of $49.00 on Nov. 21. The company’s share price closed trading Monday at $56.13, up $2.46 (4.5%) on the day.

MGM Mirage owns the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Luxor casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and is currently developing its CityCenter. At $7 billion, the 66-acre Strip project is the largest privately financed development in the US.

In early November, the company reported that third-quarter profit climbed 68%. MGM’s net income rose to $156.3 million, or $0.54 per share, in the third quarter of 2006 from $93.2 million, or $0.31 per share, in the third quarter of 2005. Third quarter revenue increased 5% from one year ago to $1.9 billion. Analysts’ average expectation was $0.41 per share on revenue of $1.83 billion.

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