A federal bankruptcy judge Wednesday approved Station Casinos Inc.'s plan to turn over its Aliante Station casino to lenders owed more than $378 million as part of restructuring the company as it emerges from bankruptcy.
Despite questions over $2 million spent on restructuring fees, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregg Zive in Reno quickly approved a reorganization plan for the hotel-casino in North Las Vegas, owned by Station Casinos and the Greenspun Corp.
Zive also ruled against three creditors challenging the $500 million sale of Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson. He determined MFS Investment Management, Panton Capital Croup and Babson Management LLC were not "unsecured lenders," and therefore eliminated their objection to the sale. He is expected to rule Tuesday on the Green Valley sale.
"It has taken a great deal of hard work and the personal financial commitment of Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and their partners to keep the family of Station Casinos' properties together and our team members employed," said Richard Haskins, executive vice president and general council of Station Casinos.
Haskins said the company looks forward to appearing before state gaming regulators and, "subject to their approval, closing the restructuring transactions in the coming weeks."
The Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission will hold back-to-back hearings today on relicensing of Station Casinos executives, along with approving plans for the company's 18 properties.
Station Casinos LLC, the company formed to buy most of the assets of bankrupt Station Casinos, reached a deal in March with creditors that would allow Green Valley Ranch Resort to remain part of the gaming company's Las Vegas holdings.
According to the reorganization, Greenspun, based in Henderson, will receive 0.3 percent of monthly gross revenue from the resort in exchange for using the Green Valley Ranch trademark under a 20-year agreement.
The Greenspuns have an option to buy an equity stake in Green Valley Ranch.
Meanwhile, Aliante Station, which is co-owned by the Greenspuns, will be turned over to a group of lenders, including TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management LLC, at a fraction of its original cost of $662 million.
The hotel-casino has more than 2,000 slot machines, a poker room and a race and sports book. The property in North Las Vegas opened in November 2008 during the depths of the recession and a year after Station Casinos buyout.
The negotiations with their creditors began after the joint venture defaulted on loans due next year. TPG and Apollo bought Aliante debt at a discount and are among the property's biggest holders.
"The plan for the Aliante debtors is a straightforward turnover of the Aliante property to the Aliante lenders on a consensual basis," the Las Vegas-based gaming company said in court papers.
Station Casinos will continue to manage Aliante under the agreement.
Station Casinos filed for bankruptcy in July 2009 after a leveraged buyout by its founding Fertitta family and Colony Capital LLC. The company owed its creditors and lenders almost $6 billion when it filed Chapter 11. The company plans to emerge from bankruptcy in the second quarter this year with debt of $2 billion.
The new Station Casinos will be led by Chairman Frank Fertitta and his brother, Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta. It will owned by Fertitta Gaming, Deutsche Bank AG, JP Morgan and former bondholders. The gaming company, which caters mostly to locals, will exit bankruptcy owning 17 properties in Southern Nevada.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at email@example.com or 702-477-3893.