The news that entertainer Merv Griffin will take control of Resorts International Inc. from developer Donald Trump surprised industry observers who watched the two men squabble.
But in announcing the preliminary agreement last week, Griffin denied he and Trump had ever been at odds."I made my offer. He refused it. There was a lot of posturing and a lot of public statements made," Griffin said, calling the dealmaking of the past several weeks "a great tennis game."
The agreement calls for Griffin to purchase Resorts' Class A shares for $36 a share, or a total of about $206 million, and to buy Trump's more powerful Class B shares at an undisclosed price well above the $101 million that Trump paid last year.
Although the agreement remains to be finalized on paper, the biggest speculation is how much Trump will receive for his Class B stock. All Griffin would say Thursday was that Trump was paid "a lot. (I) couldn't let him off easy, right? . . . We don't want Donald to take a loss on the B stock."
Harold Vogel, a gambling industry analyst with Merrill Lynch in New York, also speculated that "Mr. Trump wouldn't make a deal if it wasn't good for him."
Trump now controls Resorts by owning 95 percent of the company's outstanding Class B shares, and had tried since February to take the company private, offering $22 for each of the company's 5.7 million outstanding shares of Class A stock.