Golden Entertainment Inc. announced on Monday that it will acquire American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC (ACEP) in a deal worth approximately $849.2 million. ACEP owns the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, and the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin.
Golden, which was once known as Lakes Entertainment, Inc., is probably the lesser known of the two partners in the deal. It owns the Pahrump Nugget Hotel & Casino, Gold Town Casino, Lakeside Casino and RV Park, and the Rocky Gap Resort.
Of particular interest to poker fans will be the fact that Poker Hall of Famer Lyle Berman is a member of Golden’s Board of Directors. He was once Chairman of the Board and CEO of Lakes Entertainment from 1999 into 2015, before it merged with Sartini Gaming, the parent company of the Golden Gaming Group.
Berman holds 1,657,841 shares of Golden stock, approximately 7.4 percent of the 22.5 million shares outstanding. On Monday, the stock closed $3.07 higher than its previous closing price (an 18.1 percent jump), meaning Berman made nearly $5.1 million that day. Shares have climbed another 27 cents since then to close at $20.27 on Wednesday.
In a press release, Blake L. Sartini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Golden, said of the deal:
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.
He added, “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.”
Sartini also sees the “recent investment activity” on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip – where the Stratosphere is located – as a prime opportunity to develop the 15 acres of land around the property.
The purchase will be funded with $781 million cash plus “approximately” four million shares of Golden stock. The press release cites a ten-day weighted average price of $17.05 per share as of June 9th, which is how the earlier total deal value of $849.2 million was calculated.