June 16, 1999 01:10am
Internet Porn Biz Owner Eyes Caesars
by: ROBERT MACY
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A company that claims to run the world's largest online sex site says it has offered $3.6 billion to buy several Caesars casinos in the United States and abroad to get into the gambling business.
The company that owns Caesars says it's never heard of the purported bidder, Ocean Fund International, and neither has the company that is supposed to buy Caesars hotel-casinos later this year.
``We characterize that as bizarre and we underscore the word bizarre,'' said Jason Ader, a gambling industry analyst for Bear Stearns & Co. ``Our advice to investors is to dismiss this as so much noise. It's not likely to have much credibility.''
Ocean Fund International, which owns the Sex.com Web site and describes itself as a British Virgin Island mutual fund, said it wants to buy Caesars casinos as well as some nongambling properties.
A news release from Ocean Fund said Sex.com boasts over 9 million members who pay $24.95 a month for access to its Internet site, which displays sex videos and pictures. Dow Jones Newswires reported Ocean Fund is not registered as a mutual fund in the British Virgin Islands.
Park Place Entertainment Corp. has reached an agreement to buy Caesars casino-hotels from Starwood Hotels and Resorts for $3 billion and said the deal is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter. It said it did not plan to respond to the unsolicited offer from Ocean Fund.
Starwood officials also were taken by surprise.
``We have never heard of Ocean Fund International,'' Starwood spokesman Jim Gallagher said Tuesday. ``We have no knowledge whatsoever of their purported offer. They have talked to no one here.''
O. Robert Meredith, a lawyer representing Ocean Fund, said he faxed an offer to Starwood and Park Place late Monday. Ocean Fund is legitimate, he said, adding, ``I know they pay their bills.''