Report: Belterra in discussions on possible sale of properties

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from The Cincinnati Enquirer

May 4th, 2015

The owner of the Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment racino in Anderson Township and Belterra Casino and Resort in Southeast Indiana confirmed Monday (May 4th) it is “engaged in productive discussions” with Gaming & Leisure Properties regarding a potential acquisition of its real estate assets.

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. said it doesn’t intend to make any additional comments regarding matter until it has something definitive to report, Bloomberg News reported.

Goldman Sachs serving is serving as Pinnacle’s financial adviser.

Gaming & Leisure, a Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust (REIT), gave Pinnacle a deadline last month to accept what would be its final offer, a person with knowledge of the plan told Bloomberg. Under a deal, Pinnacle’s 15 casinos would be owned by Gaming & Leisure, while Pinnacle would continue to run them under the proposal.

Pinnacle, based in Las Vegas, said last year it was pursuing plans to split into a separate management company and REIT. Gaming & Leisure, which itself was spun out of Penn National Gaming Inc. (which owns the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg along with two casinos and two racinos in Ohio), disclosed a $36-a-share offer for Pinnacle in March that valued its real estate at $4.1 billion including assumed debt.

A spokesman for Gaming & Leisure couldn’t be reached for comment.

Pinnacle moved last month to set up a defense against a potential hostile takeover. This action was revealed in a filing by a union with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In its proxy filed with the SEC, Unite Here asked for a non-binding vote at Pinnacle’s shareholder meeting in May on its proposals to preserve shareholders’ voting rights and implement “poison pill” provisions against a takeover. The union has a local that represents 200 workers at Pinnacle’s Ameristar Casino East Chicago in northern Indiana.

Shares in Pinnacle closed Monday at a new five-year high of $37.56, up 43 cents or 1.2 percent. Shares in Gaming & Leisure closed at $36.68, up 99 cents or 2.8 percent.