SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

Cleaning The Dish: Centerplate Could Be Sold By End Of The Month

Centerplate, the concessionaire serving fans at this week's MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, could be sold to a competitor by the end of July, sources representing Aramark and Comcast-Spectacor's Ovations Food Services said. Those firms, as well as Delaware North Sportservice, are evaluating Centerplate's deals at 22 big league facilities. UBS Investment Bank, hired by Centerplate in May to explore strategic options that include selling the company, recently circulated a book listing the publicly-traded firm's assets and liabilities. Delaware North, rumored to be the front-runner, issued a statement that it is "actively looking for potential acquisition candidates that would enable us to maintain and grow our global reputation and market share in our respective industries." Aramark and Ovations officials declined to speak publicly. Centerplate Dir of Communications Gael Doar said, "I'm not going to comment on a rumor." Centerplate's stock, an income deposit security that combines common stock and a bond, has fallen to about $2 a share today on the American Stock Exchange, compared with $17 in mid-July '07. The company stopped paying monthly dividends in June. Centerplate's contract at Yankee Stadium expires after the '08 season; that deal represents about 18% of the company's cash flow. The Yankees have formed their own food and retail firm, Legends Hospitality Management, for their new ballpark opening next spring. A sale of Centerplate would be subject to SEC approval.

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