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Merger gives big boost to Nevada gaming

Businesses can be transformed when one company acquires another or two businesses combine. Mergers and acquisitions occur for many reasons with diversification, market share expansion and cost savings among them. A takeover or merger can serve to heighten the possibility of success as much as it can to mitigate the risk of failure – the shareholders' interests are paramount.

A Nevada slots route and casino operator has merged with Lakes Entertainment, Inc., a publicly-traded business that successfully resurrected a distressed casino on the East Coast. Sartini Gaming Inc. will have a 35 percent stake in the $341 million Las Vegas-based venture called Golden Entertainment Inc. The merger gives the combined companies a nationwide presence.

Sartini Gaming owns and operates three casinos in Pahrump, four dozen slots taverns and 7,100 slot machines located in hundreds of stores statewide. Lakes Entertainment purchased a failing state-owned casino in 2012 for $6.8 million, invested $35 million to transform Rocky Gap Casino Resort and generated over $22 million in revenue during the first six months of operation.

According to the parties involved, $160 million in debt refinancing will have an immediate impact upon Golden Entertainment's net income. Lake Entertainment shareholders will control 65 percent of the new company with the remaining 35 percent going to the family in charge of Sartini Gaming. The merger was proposed in January and approved by regulators in June.

Deals like this require a great deal of due diligence. A considerable portion of a successful acquisition or merger depends upon clearing complex legal hurdles and designing strategies to protect the interests of all parties in the transaction. These areas are where business attorneys prove to be highly valuable.

No one can predict whether an acquisition or merger ultimately will play out the way businesses intended. However, companies that plan carefully for these major transitions already have taken the first, important step toward success.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Rocky Gap owner completes merger with Nevada slots operator," Aug. 03, 2015

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