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Penn-Pinnacle-Boyd deal affects four casinos in St. Louis market

Four casinos in the bi-state area are affected in a planned marriage of two of the biggest players in gaming and the participation of a third.

Penn National Gaming Inc., which operates Argosy Casino in Alton and Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights, Mo., announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Penn National will acquire Pinnacle Entertainment Co. in a transaction valued at approximately $2.8 billion.

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., presently operates Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo., and River City Casino in Lemay, Mo., but under terms of the deal the Ameristar Casino locations in St. Charles and in Kansas City — as well as two other casinos — will become part of Boyd Gaming Corp.

Pinnacle shareholders will receive $20.00 in cash and 0.42 shares of Penn National common stock for each Pinnacle share, which implies a total purchase price of $32.47 per Pinnacle share based on Penn National’s closing price on Dec. 15, 2017. The transaction reflects a 36 percent premium for Pinnacle shareholders based on Pinnacle’s closing price of $21.86 and Penn National’s closing price of $22.91 on October 4, 2017. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

Pinnacle owns and operates 16 gaming and entertainment facilities in 11 jurisdictions across the United States. Following the acquisition of Pinnacle and the planned divestiture of four of its properties to Boyd Gaming Corporation, Penn National will have significantly greater operational and geographic diversity and operate a combined 41 properties in 20 jurisdictions throughout North America. The transaction is expected to generate $100 million in annual run-rate cost synergies following integration and is anticipated to be immediately accretive to free cash flow in the first year. Pro forma for the divestitures and synergies, the acquisition reflects a multiple of 6.6x LTM EBITDA.

Timothy J. Wilmott, chief executive officer of Penn National Gaming, commented, “By combining our highly complementary portfolios and similar operating philosophies, we will be able to leverage the strengths of both our companies and create an unparalleled experience for our regional gaming customers, while generating significant value for our shareholders and business partners.”

Wilmott continued, “The combined company will benefit from enhanced scale, additional growth opportunities and best-in-class operations, creating a more efficient integrated gaming company. Going forward, we will have the financial and operational flexibility to further execute on our strategic objectives, while maintaining our track record of industry-leading profit margins and generating significant cash flow to reduce leverage over time. We look forward to welcoming Pinnacle’s talented employees to our team and to further enhancing our status as North America’s leading regional gaming operator.”

Anthony Sanfilippo, chairman and chief executive officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, said, “Pinnacle is a terrific company whose success is due to the efforts of our more than 16,000 team members that focus every day on providing great service and memorable experiences for our guests. Tim and the Penn National team lead a high-quality organization that, like Pinnacle, has a long track record of operational excellence and accretive growth. We believe the combination will produce an even stronger gaming entertainment platform that builds on the individual accomplishments of both companies and benefits our collective team members, shareholders and guests.”

Sanfilippo continued, “Pinnacle shareholders will receive immediate value from the cash consideration, as well as participation in the longer-term growth of Penn National that we expect will occur from the integration of these two great companies into a more efficient, larger-scale gaming entertainment platform. We are also pleased that Boyd Gaming will be acquiring our Ameristar properties in St. Charles and Kansas City, along with Belterra Casino Resort and Belterra Park. We look forward to working closely with Penn National and Boyd to seamlessly transition the Pinnacle businesses to their respective new owners.”

Following are the advantages, and compelling strategic and financial benefits listed by Penn National:

• Increased scale and broader geographic diversification: The acquisition will further establish Penn National as North America’s leading regional gaming operator, benefitting from a broader, deeper base of properties, greater economies of scale and increased purchasing power. The combined company will operate 41 properties across 20 jurisdictions with approximately 53,500 slots, 1,300 tables and 8,300 hotel rooms, and will have more than 35,000 employees. In addition, by combining two of the top customer loyalty programs in the industry, Penn National will be better positioned to drive play within its portfolio, in particular at Tropicana Las Vegas and M Resort.

• Opportunity for meaningful synergies: Penn National has identified $100 million in annual run-rate cost synergies driven by the elimination of corporate overhead redundancies and improved property level efficiencies, with limited incremental costs required to scale operations and integrate Pinnacle’s properties.

• Enhancement of innovative growth strategy: The acquisition will leverage Penn National’s portfolio of regional and destination gaming properties and social gaming platforms across Pinnacle’s portfolio of complementary assets. The combined company will benefit from additional promotional opportunities in online and social gaming, which will help provide an additional boost to property level performance.

• Immediately accretive to free cash flow: Penn National expects the acquisition of Pinnacle to be immediately accretive to free cash flow per share in the first year. The strong free cash flow generation from the combined companies will enhance Penn National’s ability to de-lever its balance sheet, pursue strategic opportunities and ultimately return capital to shareholders.

In connection with the transaction, Penn National has entered into a definitive agreement with Boyd in which Boyd will purchase Pinnacle’s gaming operations at Ameristar Kansas City and Ameristar St. Charles in Missouri; Belterra Casino Resort in Indiana; and Belterra Park in Ohio, for approximately $575 million in cash. These divestitures are anticipated to occur immediately prior to, and are conditioned upon, the completion of the Pinnacle acquisition.

Gaming and Leisure Properties, the landlord for Penn National and Pinnacle under their respective master lease agreements, has entered into an agreement to amend the terms of the Pinnacle master lease to permit the divestitures. In connection with the transaction, Penn National, GLPI and Boyd have agreed to the following:

• Penn National and GLPI will enter into a sale and leaseback of the real estate associated with Belterra Park and Plainridge Park Casino for approximately $315 million.
• An amendment to the terms of the Pinnacle master lease following closing of the merger to reflect an annual fixed rent payment of $25 million for Plainridge Park Casino and $13.9 million in incremental annual rent to adjust to market conditions.
• At closing, GLPI and Boyd will enter into a master lease agreement for the divestitures pursuant to which Boyd will lease the divested real property from GLPI (including the real property underlying Belterra Park).
• Penn National will assume the existing master lease and Pinnacle’s existing lease for the Meadows Casino and Racetrack in Pennsylvania. Penn National’s master lease with GLPI will not be affected by this transaction.


Penn National has received committed financing for the transaction, subject to customary conditions, from BofA Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs Bank USA, and expects to fund the acquisition with a combination of the proceeds from the Boyd and GLPI transactions, existing cash on its balance sheet and new debt financing. Penn National anticipates that the additional cash flow resulting from the acquisition will allow it to pay down debt on an accelerated basis after closing.

Approvals and timing

The transaction is subject to approval of the shareholders of Penn National and Pinnacle, the approval of applicable gaming authorities, the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and other customary closing conditions. The companies expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2018.
Upon completion of the transaction Penn National and Pinnacle shareholders will hold 78 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of the combined company’s outstanding shares.


Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as lead financial advisor, BofA Merrill Lynch is also acting as a financial advisor, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal advisor to Penn National in connection with the transaction. J.P. Morgan is acting as financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as legal advisor to Pinnacle in connection with the transaction.

About Penn National

Penn National Gaming owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities and video gaming terminal operations with a focus on slot machine entertainment. We have also recently expanded into social online gaming offerings via our Penn Interactive Ventures, LLC division and our recent acquisition of Rocket Speed, Inc. At September 30, 2017, the Company operated twenty-nine facilities in seventeen jurisdictions, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario, Canada. At September 30, 2017, in aggregate, Penn National Gaming operated approximately 36,700 gaming machines, 820 table games and 4,800 hotel rooms.

About Pinnacle

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns and operates 16 gaming entertainment businesses, located in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In addition, Pinnacle holds a majority interest in the racing license owner, as well as a management contract, for Retama Park Racetrack outside of San Antonio, Texas.

About Boyd Gaming

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming Corp. owns and operates 24 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Boyd Gaming press releases are available at Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at


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