Private equity firm moves to take over LV Trop
May 18, 2009
Canadian buy-out firm Onex Corp. is reportedly positioning to take over the financially
troubled Tropicana in Las Vegas.
According to several media reports, the Toronto private equity company has been accumulating Tropicana debt and expects to take control of the property this year as it emerges from bankruptcy.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, Onex has accumulated more than $200 million in principal of the senior debt of Tropicana Las Vegas Resort and Casino LLC. Onex didn't disclose how much it paid for that debt, which gave it a controlling interest. The Sun story citing court papers says that Onex will control three of the five seats on the reorganized Trop board of directors and former MGM Mirage executive Alex Yemenidjian will be the property's chief executive and run the gaming operations. The deal includes 34 acres of land surrounding the hotel-casino, according to the report.
On May 5, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware approved Tropicana Entertainment LLC's creditor-supported plans of reorganization, which included an exit financing commitment from Icahn Capital. The court action came on the one-year anniversary of Tropicana's filing for Chapter 11 protection.
In April Tropicana obtained the requisite votes from its creditors to form two operating enterprises: one comprised of Tropicana's assets outside of Las Vegas and the other made up solely of the Tropicana Casino & Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The companies were be owned by separate groups of creditors who will exchange their debt for equity in the reorganized enterprises. Unsecured creditors were to receive warrants to purchase shares or cash and entitled to certain litigation proceeds.
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