A much talked about proxy battle at the world’s largest slots manufacturer will come to a head on Tuesday.
International Game Technology (IGT) shareholders will meet behind closed doors at 11:30 am EST to either re-elect the current eight-person board of directors or bring on three new members hand-picked by investor Jason Ader. One of these individuals includes former IGT Chairperson Charles Mathewson.
"A lot of the big shareholders haven't voted yet," Ader said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal. "All I can say is that no matter what happens, I plan on being a long-term shareholder in the company."
The IGT power struggle has pitted casino execs against one another. Wynn Resorts owner, Steve Wynn, was forced to come out to defend his friend Mathewson against scathing attacks made by current IGT CEO Patti Hart and Chairman Phil Satre.
Employees of IGT have attacked Hart for failure to communicate properly with staff. Media outlets, including Gambling911.com, have uncovered IGT’s failure to disclose the $10 million purchase of San Francisco-based BringIt Inc., when the deal was completed in February 2012. Hart’s husband was an executive at the investment bank that oversaw the deal, something else IGT failed to disclose.
It was also discovered that Hart may have used a private company jet primarily for personal usage.
Ader and company are more concerned over what they deem to be failed transactions, primarily IGT’s acquisition of social gaming company DoubleDown Casino and a European online poker network, Entraction, that has all but shut down.
Since the Ader Group’s involvement, IGT’s stock price has shot up.
Regardless of what transpires on Tuesday morning, Hart may control her own fate for the time being.
“I’m of the belief she has the support of the board and she has the support of the shareholders at the current time,” a source close to the situation told Gambling911.com’s own Jenny Woo. “I think ultimately the stock performance will be the determining factor for this management or to any management’s duration.
“I suspect that given the stock price performance since the Ader Group got involved in September 2012, they’ve begun to put pressure on the company as an active shareholder. They’ll continue to do that irrespective of the results next week. They will continue to pressure management to perform and as long as the stock price is performing, I suspect that she (Patti Hart) will have the support of the board and shareholders.”
- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com