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Fertitta increases Landry's buyout offer again

Landry's Restaurants Inc. chairman and chief executive Tilman J. Fertitta upped his offer to $24 a share to take the restaurant and gaming company private in a deal valued at $1.4 billion, the company said Monday.

The latest offer marks the second time in a month Fertitta has increased his bid for the company. He boosted his offer to $21 a share from $14.75 in late April.

Shares in Landry's (LNY) were up more than 13 percent at $24.70 in Monday morning trading following news of the increased bid.

Landry's board of directors has given the offer a green light, the company said, but it is still subject to approval by a majority of shareholders of common stock not owned by Fertitta. He controls about 55 percent of the company's shares.

Landry's said the merger also is contingent on the dismissal with prejudice of a pending lawsuit over derivative claims against Fertitta and company directors. The company said Monday it has reached a partial settlement in the suit.

Fertitta has been trying to take Landry's private for more than two years. His first proposal in January 2008 included a per-share offer of $23.90, but the deal stalled as the country slid into recession. His buyout efforts hit another roadblock last year when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission required Landry's to disclose financing information from lenders that the company considered confidential.

Landry's restaurant holdings include such concepts as Landry's Seafood House, Rainforest Cafe, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House and the 12-unit Oceanaire Seafood Room chain, which it recently purchased in a bankruptcy auction. The company also owns two Golden Nugget casino-hotels in Nevada.

Contact Molly Gise at [email protected].

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