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NATION



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



NATION

Sony sets U.S. debut for portable game unit

Sony has announced the price and U.S. sale date for its new PlayStation Portable, a highly anticipated handheld video game, music and movie player that the firm has dubbed the Walkman of the 21st century.

The PSP, which has been selling in Japan since December, will hit store shelves in the United States on March 24 with a price tag of $250, Sony said.

The package will include a 32-MB flash memory card for storing music, headphones, battery pack and AC adapter. The first million PSPs sold in the United States and Canada will also include the movie "Spider-Man 2" on Sony's proprietary universal media disc.

The long-awaited portable device represents Sony's first foray into the handheld gaming market.

Landry's Restaurants will buy Vegas casino

LAS VEGAS -- Landry's Restaurants Inc., whose operations include Rainforest Cafe and The Crab House, is buying the Golden Nugget hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas, a first step in a strategy to get a slice of the lucrative gambling business and expand its profit pipeline. Landry's shares surged nearly 10 percent on the news.

Houston-based Landry's announced Friday it struck a deal under which it would pay $140 million in cash and assume $155 million in debt for the Golden Nugget.

The Golden Nugget Las Vegas is considered the jewel of a faded downtown with 1,907 hotel rooms and 2,800 employees. Built in 1946, it's the largest of the 14 hotel-casinos in the downtown area.

Landry's owns and operates more than 300 restaurants, and the brands also include Landry's Seafood House, Joe's Crab Shack, Willie G's Seafood & amp; Steakhouse and The Chart House. It employs more than 30,000 people and had more than $1.1 billion in revenue in 2003.

Napster service

Napster to Go launched Thursday, offering subscribers hundreds of thousands of tracks for their portable music devices as long as they keep paying $14.95 a month.

Napster Inc. said it will spend as much as $30 million to market the service, including an ad in this weekend's Super Bowl. The selling proposition: It would cost $10,000 to fill up an IPod with tracks purchased at 99 cents each, while it costs only $15 a month to stuff a Napster to Go-capable player.

WORLD

John Deere opens plant in Russia

MOLINE, Ill. -- Farm implement maker Deere & amp; Co. has opened an assembly facility in Russia to provide seeding carts and air seeding tools to customers in the region, the company announced Friday.

Deere said the plant in Orenburg allows it to lower its logistics costs and makes it easier to do business in the region.

OPEC won't cut outputunless prices hit $37

Crude oil futures would need to fall to about $37 a barrel before OPEC decides to cut production, according to a person familiar with the thinking of some of the cartel's top officials.

Last week, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided not to rein in production, as the price of light, sweet crude oil futures hovered near $47 a barrel. But the oil cartel left open the possibility of an output cut before its March meeting. What remains to be seen is how far prices would have to fall before OPEC takes action.

At an informal meeting last week in Davos, Switzerland, several OPEC representatives signaled that the cartel would not reduce its official output unless prices fell by roughly $10 a barrel from levels at the time, according to a source who attended the meeting, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

Vindicator wire reports




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