News Column

Pinnacle Entertainment Completes Casino Deal

August 14, 2013
Pinnacle Entertainment purchased eight casinos from Ameristar Casinos.
Pinnacle Entertainment purchased eight casinos from Ameristar Casinos.

Pinnacle Entertainment, the Las Vegas-based gaming company that already owns two casinos in the St. Louis area, said today its $2.8 billion purchase of Ameristar Casinos is done.

Pinnacle's purchase of Ameristar adds eight properties, including Ameristar St. Charles, to Pinnacle.

"We are delighted to announce the successful completion of this transaction marking a beginning to a merger of two dynamic companies that will be even better together," Pinnacle's chief executive, Anthony Sanfilippo, said in a statement. "With this transaction, we have doubled the size of our company, the gaming and entertainment options for our guests, and career opportunities for our team members."

Federal regulators held up the deal this year over antitrust concerns in the St. Louis and Lake Charles, La., casino markets. To eliminate those concerns, Pinnacle agreed to sell the Ameristar casino under development in Lake Charles and its Lumiere Place complex on the St. Louis riverfront.

Sanfilippo said last month that sale of the Lumiere Place complex was imminent.

On Wednesday, Pinnacle said it is in "advanced discussions with potential buyers" of the Lumiere Place casino, the adjoining Four Seasons hotel and HoteLumiere, which also is part of the complex.

Gaming revenue at all six St. Louis-area casinos--Lumiere Place, in particular--is trending down this year. The weak numbers could complicate a Lumiere sale.

The Federal Trade Commission said Monday it would give Pinnacle six months to complete the Lumiere sale, or else it could force the company to sell the bigger Ameristar St. Charles casino, instead.

FTC regulators required Pinnacle to divest a St. Louis casino and the Lake Charles project to reduce the market concentrations that would result from the combination of Pinnacle and Ameristar casinos in those areas.

Pinnacle keeps its River City casino in its acquisition of Ameristar. Pinnacle reached a deal earlier to sell the Lake Charles project to Golden Nugget.

Golden Nugget will pay the $213.9 million already spent in Lake Charles, less a $37 million credit. Pinnacle said it expects to complete the Lake Charles transaction by the end of the year.

As previously announced, Ameristar stockholders are receiving $26.50 per share in cash for each share of Ameristar common stock. The transaction is valued at approximately $2.8 billion, including assumed debt.

Source: (c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Distributed by MCT Information Services

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