Penn National Gaming eyes rival Pinnacle Entertainment for possible purchase

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) is reportedly in the midst of discussions revolving around the purchase of rival casino owner Pinnacle Entertainment and creating a unified company with 45 properties in upwards of 12 states and Canada.

The cash-and-stock deal could, according to The Wall Street Journal, value Las Vegas-based Pinnacle in the low-$30s a share. On Thursday afternoon, shares of Pinnacle were trading at $30.53, up 3.1 percent.

The company that would result from the merger would reportedly have $5 billion-plus in revenue and potentially include L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge, Boomtown Casino and Hotel Bossier City and Boomtown Casino and Hotel New Orleans. All four Louisiana casinos are leased and operated by Pinnacle Entertainment.

Formed as a corporate spin-off from Penn National Gaming in November 2013, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc (GLPI) (NASDAQ:GLPI), is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns 38 casinos and operates two of them; Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge and Hollywood Casino Perryville.

In July 2016, GLPI purchased Pinnacle’s 15 properties, including the four Louisiana riverboats, and leased them back to Pinnacle, with rent starting at $377 million per year.

In brief statement on Thursday, Pinnacle and Pennsylvania-based Penn National reportedly said that their discussions, which the latter said revol 7BALL CC ve around the purchase of Pinnacle in a cash-and-stock deal, may or may not result in a transaction, as reported by The Advocate.

According to the report, Penn National said that the two companies’ boards, as well as shareholder and regulators, would need to approve any transaction.

The Advocate reports that the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Ronnie Jones, said that because GLPI is “pretty separated out” from Penn National, state regulators probably shouldn’t have issues with a potential Penn National-Pinnacle deal.

However, the state’s gaming control board chairman reportedly cautioned that it was “too early” to get into what may or may not happen and how a potential deal would affect the casino market locally, according to the daily newspaper.

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The newest casino in Baton Rouge, L’Auberge also brings in the most money. The casino opened on Sep. 1st, 2012, and according to the gaming board’s most recent Riverboat Revenue Report (pdf), in October brought in $13.2 million in revenue. Comparatively, the other two riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge; Belle and Hollywood, brought in $3.9 million and $5.2 million respectively.