Pinnacle to Buy Majority Share in Retama Park
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 4/26/2012 10:17:49 AM
Last Updated: 4/27/2012 9:13:11 AM

Casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment said April 26 one of its subsidiaries has an agreement to purchase a 75.5% interest in Retama Park, which is located near San Antonio, Texas.

Pinnacle, which also owns Belterra Casino Resort in Indiana and River Downs in Ohio, said it will pay $28.8 million to acquire the share from Retama Partners Ltd. The company also will pay $7.8 million to purchase “debt securities and other interests,” and “cash consideration” of $15 million to refinance Retama Development Corp.’s debt and provide working capital.

Pinnacle also would provide $2.6 million in bridge that must be repaid when the deal is completed, the company said in a release. The sale hinges on regulatory approvals.

Texas racetracks have been fighting for years for alternative gaming. Pinnacle president and chief executive officer Anthony Sanfilippo noted the company’s intent to continue that push.

“The Retama Park transactions provide Pinnacle with the opportunity to expand our portfolio of properties, diversify our operating base, and provide strategic value for our shareholders,” Sanfilippo said. “Upon closing we will immediately begin work to integrate Retama Park into our portfolio of properties and leverage our operational and marketing expertise to bolster the track’'s performance.

“We believe Retama Park provides significant strategic value for our shareholders given the potential approval of gaming entertainment centers at Texas pari-mutuel facilities, and by expanding the reach of Pinnacle’s operations in the region into two key Texas markets, San Antonio and Austin.”

Retama Park is one of three Class 1 racetracks in Texas; the others are Lone Star Park and Sam Houston Race Park. If the sale goes through, all three will have some ties to gaming entities.

Pinnacle, based in Las Vegas, purchased River Downs in 2011 and is expected to install video lottery terminals if a legal challenge to the racetrack VLT is favorably resolved. The company currently owns and operates six casinos in Indiana, Louisiana, and Missouri.



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