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US – Golden Entertainment buys four casinos including the Stratosphere

By - 12 June 2017

Golden Entertainment is buying Nevada and Arizona casino operator American Casino & Entertainment Properties for $850m.

The deal includes three properties in Las Vegas including the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, as well as its fourth property, the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin.

American is expected to generate approximately $413m of net revenues and $103m of EBITDA in 2017.
American’s current owner is Whitehall Street Real Estate Partners 2007, a real estate private equity fund managed by the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs.

Upon completion of the transaction, Golden will operate over 15,800 slot machines, 114 table games and more than 5,100 hotel rooms across eight casino properties and almost 1,000 distributed gaming locations including the largest branded tavern portfolio in Nevada.

Blake Sartini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Golden, said: “This is a transformational event for our Company, creating a significant gaming portfolio centered around Nevada-based casinos that, in addition to our Pahrump properties, will include two well-known Las Vegas locals casinos, a destination resort in Laughlin, and the iconic Stratosphere property on the Las Vegas Strip. Our market leading distributed gaming businesses in Nevada and Montana, as well as our Casino Resort in Maryland, present several opportunities to cross-market and promote these new assets that we welcome to the Golden family. As with our existing businesses, we believe the American properties are poised to benefit tremendously from anticipated continued economic growth in Nevada, particularly from the continued strength in the Las Vegas market.”

Mr. Sartini further stated: “The American properties represent an ideal complement to our existing operations as they strengthen our presence in the Las Vegas locals market while providing us with an iconic destination property on the Las Vegas Strip. Our proven strategy of focusing on guest service, quality food and beverage offerings and effective player marketing will complement the strong existing operations currently at all of American’s properties. In addition, given the recent investment activity focused on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, we see future potential to develop the approximately 15 acres of excess real estate surrounding the Stratosphere. This acquisition supports our goals for growth in many ways, including the potential to use our increased free cash flow and financial scale to pursue distributed gaming opportunities in existing or potential new markets.”

Charles Protell, Chief Financial Officer of Golden, concluded: “This transaction significantly increases the size of our operations and allows us to access the capital markets more efficiently while enhancing our ability to further expand our leading presence in distributed gaming. At closing, we anticipate our funded total debt to be approximately $1bn resulting in a net leverage ratio of less than 5.5x. Post-closing, we anticipate leverage will be reduced by operating cash flow of the combined businesses. In addition, we expect that our new credit facility will provide us with the flexibility and liquidity to pursue future organic and strategic opportunities.

“With the acquisition of American, we will improve our position to benefit from Nevada’s strong economic trends which are driving gaming, room, and F&B revenues on the Las Vegas Strip, in the Las Vegas locals and in other Nevada gaming markets. Despite the significance of our Nevada casino portfolio after closing this transaction, we intend to continue to invest in the expansion of our industry leading distributed gaming business including our planned tavern developments in Las Vegas as well as our pursuit of potential distributed gaming operations in new jurisdictions.”

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