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Competition Heats Up for International Game

With shares at their lows, other analysts are making the bull case for IGT. They acknowledge the company's recent market share erosion but contend that the worst news is over.

George Smith, an analyst at Davenport & Co., said the stock already reflected the market slowdown and heightened competitive pressures. What's more, he said IGT's strong balance sheet will enable it to react quickly to Aristocrat's challenge.

"IGT spends two to three times more on research and development than their closest peers," he said. "They generate about half a billion dollars annually in free cash flow. ... I don't think their market share's going to slip so far. When they lose ground in a specific area, they go after it with great vigor." Davenport's asset-management unit owns a position in IGT. The company does no banking business with IGT, and Smith owns no shares.

Smith rates IGT a buy and has a 12- to 18-month target price of $40.

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