Judge Sides With ‘Review-Journal’ in Vegas Web Dispute

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(AP) A Nevada judge sided with the parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper in a dispute with owners of the rival Las Vegas Sun over control of an Internet site.

Officials with the Greenspun Media Group, owner of the Sun, said yesterday that they had not decided whether to appeal Tuesday’s ruling by Clark County District Judge David Wall.

The decision lets Stephens Media Group exercise an option to buy back the company that runs lasvegas.com. The Web site markets Las Vegas hotel rooms.

The dispute dates to a February 2002 agreement for Stephens Media to license the Web site to a joint venture owned by subsidiaries of casino owners Caesars Entertainment and Mandalay Resort Group.

The joint venture, known as LAS Travel, managed the site under an agreement that guaranteed Stephens Media a percentage of hotel room revenues generated by the site.

Court records show that in July 2004, VEGAS.com, an Internet site operated by Greenspun Media, offered $12 million for the rights to the lasvegas.com name.

Caesars and Mandalay agreed to sell, but Stephens Media exercised an option it had retained to buy back LAS Travel if a deal was struck with Greenspun Media.

In August, less than a week after Stephens Media chief executive Sherman Frederick exercised the option, VEGAS.com President Howard Lefkowitz responded that the Stephens bid did not match the VEGAS.com offer.

The gambling companies sued, asking a judge to decide whether Stephens’ response constituted a matching offer, and which company had the legal right to buy LAS Travel.

Judge Wall called Frederick’s option letter “valid, unequivocal and unambiguous” and said Stephens Media had the right to buy the Web site company.

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