Golden Nugget is looking to acquire the Ameristar Casino Lake Charles project from Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. The companies announced Thursday that they have entered into an agreement that would allow Golden Nugget to gain all of the equity interests in the development.
Tilman J. Fertitta, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Golden Nugget, issued his comments Thursday on the acquisition. Through the diversified Landry's, Fertitta also owns and operates over 100 restaurants in the south Texas market plus entertainment complexes such as the Kemah Boardwalk, the Galveston Historic Pleasure Pier, the San Luis Resort Complex and the Downtown Aquarium.
"I could not pass up the opportunity to build and operate a casino next door to my hometown. This casino will be where Louisiana locals and Texans will want to play, stay and enjoy themselves. We are investing nearly $600 million dollars in the project and plan to draw from our large south Texas and Louisiana customer base to drive business to our new resort," he stated.
The 242-acre site in Lake Charles, located next door to Pinnacle's L'Auberge Casino Resort, represents the last gaming license issued by the state and will be Golden Nugget's fifth casino.
Construction at the site was already underway. Ameristar has stated that through June 30, 2013, it had invested $213.9 million into the project, including the original purchase price, capital expenditures and escrow deposits.
It was only a week ago, on July 18, that the Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved Pinnacle's acquisition of Ameristar Casino and the transfer of Ameristar's interest in the Lake Charles project to the company. Pinnacle had acquired Ameristar in an all cash transaction valued at $26.50 per Ameristar share or for a total consideration of $2.8 billion, including assumed debt.
"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Golden Nugget," stated Anthony Sanfilippo, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, in a news release, "With Golden Nugget being headquartered in south Texas, having a long history of high quality operations in the broader region and bringing strong brands and operational expertise in the gaming and hospitality industries, we believe they are well-positioned to enhance the appeal of Lake Charles and our respective resort properties as a preeminent gaming entertainment destination."
Feritta added, "We are tremendously excited about this opportunity. We are confident that we can grow gaming revenues in Lake Charles, and together with L'Auberge Casino Resort, offer consumers one of the best gaming experiences in the country."
Under the terms of the agreement, Golden Nugget will pay total consideration equal to all cash expenditures on the development up until the date of closing and the assumption of all outstanding payables related to the project at that time, less a $37 million credit.
The transaction, which is subject to the approval of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, is expected to close by the end of 2013.
Page 2 of 2 - The Golden Nugget Casino and Resort is slated to open in 2014.
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