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Takeaway: IGT is set to reap the benefits of a three to five year bull market in the slots business.

Todd Jordan – Gaming, Lodging & Leisure: LONG International Game Technology (IGT)

The previous management team spent heavily on acquisitions anticipating a boom in Server-Based Gaming (SBG).  But SBG failed to take off, and by 2009 IGT stock went into a steep decline.  With new management focused on developing gaming content, we think the company is done with acquisitions.  This frees up substantial cash flow, and management has made it clear they intend to use this to benefit shareholders.  The stock now trades at the low end of its earnings multiple range (11X forward P/E) management’s stated goal of increasing leverage should make as much as $450 million available each year for share repurchases, while leaving room for multiple expansion to drive higher share prices.

Jordan says the company is at an inflection point as company and sector fundamentals have turned.  IGT’s market share has stabilized and is now on the upswing.  If we are right, and the company is done with acquisitions, this should lead to rapidly rising Return On Investment – faster than today’s stock price would imply.

IGT is seeing both profitability and cash flow increase.  As interactive gaming starts to build momentum, earlier acquisitions are finally starting to pay off.  Meanwhile the stock price is stuck on the idea that “previous management made a bunch of lousy acquisitions.”  Jordan says these acquisitions aren’t “lousy” any more, which should be reflected in 2013 earnings and ROI performance.  Jordan sees the industry moving into what should be a 3-5 year bull market as replacement demand improves and new jurisdictions look to increase tax revenues.   ON-line gaming proposals are under discussion in a number of US states, but there is also plenty of room for expansion internationally as countries such as Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and South Korea explore the potential of gaming as a revenue generator.