Las Vegas Sun

May 24, 2019

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Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s purchase likely to clear final hurdle

Las Vegas BLVD casino exteriors

Mikayla Whitmore

The Stratosphere on Las Vegas Boulevard on Sept. 30, 2015.

The company that owns PT’s Pubs will likely get the final approval it needs to purchase the company that owns the Stratosphere and three other Nevada casinos today at a meeting of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Golden Entertainment, which owns pubs and taverns, slot routes in Nevada and Montana, and casinos in Pahrump and Maryland, announced in June it intended to purchase American Casino & Entertainment Properties.

American owns the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

In the announcement, Golden said it would pay $781 million in cash for American, as well as about 4 million shares of Golden stock issued to American’s current owner, Whitehall Street Real Estate Partners 2007, a real estate private equity fund. In August, the company announced it had secure financing for the deal.

Golden received approval for the deal from Nevada’s Gaming Control Board earlier this month. The board is the administrative and executive branch of Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure.

The board, which investigates and holds hearings on deals such as Golden’s purchase of American, made a positive recommendation to the commission. Approval from the commission is the last regulatory step for this deal, and the purchase is expected to close days after the meeting.

In hearings and in quarterly earnings announcements, Golden executives have said they intend to drive business to their newly purchased casinos from existing businesses.

“Our mid-market customer base lines up nicely with the American Casino & Entertainment Properties customer, and we believe we can effectively promote across Nevada, Montana and Maryland,” said Golden Entertainment CEO Blake Sartini during a conference call held to discuss second-quarter earnings.

In that same conference call, CFO Charles Protell said Golden is thinking about expanding the Stratosphere sometime after the deal closes.

“The property does not have convention space, and we think that’s a huge opportunity,” Protell said.

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