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Hilton jilted

ITT Corp. said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to Hilton Hotel Corp. last week, filing a federal court motion in an attempt to block a hostile takeover bid by the Beverly Hills-based hotel giant.

ITT also announced it is exploring the sale of its sports and entertainment operations, a move that could raise more than $2 billion and potentially help it fight off Hilton’s hostile bid.

New York-based ITT, owner of the Sheraton hotel chain and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, is considering the sale of such assets as Madison Square Garden, a New York TV station, a cable TV sports network and the New York Knicks and New York Rangers sports franchises.

Hilton has offered to pay $55 a share for ITT stock, a bid worth $6.5 billion. It would also assume $4 billion of ITT debt if the takeover is successful.

ITT’s court motion asks a federal judge in Nevada to block the takeover attempt because Hilton allegedly received confidential information about ITT from Bally Entertainment Corp., which Hilton recently acquired. ITT claims it provided Bally with the information during merger discussions last year.

Sheik up at marina

A billionaire Saudi Arabian sheik lost the leases on six prime Marina del Rey properties last week after a bankruptcy court judge removed the leaseholds from a long-running Chapter 11 case.

The properties, which include the Fisherman’s Village retail center, the Admiralty Apartments, Piers 44 and 77, and the Marina Beach and Marina West office complexes, will be foreclosed upon by CS First Boston Mortgage Capital Corp. on Feb. 24.

Sheik Abdul Aziz al Ibrahim bought the properties’ leaseholds in 1989, and CS First Boston holds about $26 million in loans on them. The protracted bankruptcy proceedings, which began in 1991, have stalled redevelopment of the publicly owned marina, where commercial properties are leased on a long-term basis to developers.

CS First Boston has agreed to pay $53,000 in back rent to L.A. County, and repair or replace 32 boat slips.

Marcus out, Nathanson in

A new executive passed through the revolving door at the top of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. last week, when the chairman and CEO of Burbank-based New Regency Productions was named president and chief operating officer of MGM Pictures.

Santa Monica-based MGM’s management has been in some turmoil since the company was acquired last summer by a group of investors led by financier Kirk Kerkorian. The search for a new chief financial officer had to be put off in early February when MGM Pictures head Mike Marcus resigned.

John Calley, the former head of MGM subsidiary United Artists Pictures, left in the fall to take the job as president of Culver City-based Sony Pictures Entertainment.

MGM Pictures’ new president is Michael Nathanson, who as head of New Regency, oversaw the development of “Natural Born Killers,” “Tin Cup” and the highly successful “Free Willy.”

As part of the negotiations to release Nathanson from his contract at New Regency, a production company owned by financier Arnon Milchan, MGM and New Regency have agreed to jointly produce at least one film.

No sale

A week after announcing that it was exploring the possible sale of its publishing operations, Walt Disney Co. disclosed that it plans to keep some of them including West L.A.-based Los Angeles magazine.

Analysts had speculated that Los Angeles could fetch between $10 million and $20 million, but Disney said Los Angeles magazine and the New York-based Fairchild Publications group will remain in the fold. Fairchild publishes such industry trade magazines as Women’s Wear Daily, Supermarket News and W.

Still on the block are several newspapers and trade magazines that were acquired by Disney when it bought Capital Cities/ABC Inc. last year. Analysts say those publications could fetch as much as $2.5 billion.

Disney is searching for an investment banker to handle the sale.

MTA settlement

In the largest settlement ever won against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and its chief subway contractor, the two entities agreed to pay $12.3 million to three welders who were badly burned in a 1994 tunnel explosion.

Dale Gibson, Andy Gutierrez and Michael Willis charged the MTA and subway construction manager Parsons-Dillingham with reckless disregard for workers’ safety in a lawsuit filed after the July 18, 1994 accident. The three men were working in a tunnel beneath Vermont Boulevard when a fire broke out and ignited an acetylene tank that had allegedly been improperly stored in the tunnel.

A month after a lawsuit by the three men went to trial, the defendants abruptly decided to settle the case. Gibson, who was burned over 95 percent of his body, will receive $8.5 million; Gutierrez, who was burned over 35 percent of his body, will get $2.6 million; and the less-seriously hurt Willis will get $1.25 million.

The damages will be paid by Century City-based Argonaut Group Inc., the insurer for Parsons-Dillingham and the MTA.

Compiled by Dan Turner

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