Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Audio – Everybody loves a winner in Vegas, baby!

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It seems that any sentence about Las Vegas, the people who work there or the stocks of the companies that run the big casinos ends better with the word “baby”. It’s almost like you can hear Frank saying it to Dino on their way into some smoky, after-hours cocktail party.

So, even though Bill Lerner, casino and gaming analyst at Deutsche Bank didn’t exactly end his comments on casino stock picks like Sinatra might have … well, it’s Vegas, baby!

Lerner, speaking at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in New York, spoke extensively about the stocks in the gaming sector and identified the ones he thinks have the best chance at near- and longer-term success.

Lerner was one of the featured speakers at the summit, which continues through Wednesday in our New York headquarters. The Summit program is in its fifth year, and in 2009 will include top-level executives from  industries and sectors including everything from Infrastructure; to Mining; to Investing in India, China, Japan and Russia; to Food and Beverages.

Audio – Bad is bad

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Trying to compare one recession or economic downswing to another is a little like trying to decide which hurricane was the worst.

I mean, if you were sitting in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, it’s not going to matter too much if Hurricane Hugo’s winds were 10 miles an hour faster. They both weren’t a lot of fun.

Audio – Air France-KLM CEO sees some unfriendly skies ahead

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The state of the airline industry and travel overall is not poised for a rapid takeoff in 2009 and looks like it will remain in rough shape until next year, said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, chief executive of Air France-KLM, on Monday at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit.

The head of Europe’s largest airline, who became CEO in January, said he was unsure when things would turn around, but warned that both passenger and cargo metrics were down for the airline.

Audio – And then there were two?

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Priceline.com CEO Jeff Boyd told the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in New York that he thinks that at least two out of the four players in the online travel sector – Priceline, Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia – could be in a position for either an IPO or a sale once the economy turns up.

“I think that the most important fact there is that two of the major players are owned by private equity,” he said. ”Orbitz is controlled by Blackstone. And Travelocity and Sabre Group are controlled by TPG and Silver Lake Partners. And what that means is eventually they will be looking for a way to monetize those private equity investments, and there’s two ways of doing it.

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