The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday approved the takeover of Aliante Station by a number of its lenders, allowing the 3-year-old luxury resort to emerge from bankruptcy.
The five-member commission also approved the sale of Fitzgeralds in downtown Las Vegas to owners of the nearby Golden Gate. Terms of the sale from the estate of Donald Hamilton Barden to brothers Derek and Geregory Stevens were not disclosed.
Both decisions had been expected.
Nine banks and three equity firms now will own Aliante Station. Station Casinos LLC, which built the property in 2008, lost its ownership stake in a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan in May, but will continue to manage the property.
Dan Reaser, an attorney with Lionel, Sawyer & Collins in Las Vegas, told the commission the banks and the equity firms had converted their loans into an ownership stake of the hotel-casino.
The new owners will invest $45 million to keep the resort operating. Aliante Station employs about 880 people, he said.
At the time of Aliante Station’s bankruptcy, its lenders were owed more than $378 million.
Reaser said the private equity companies, Apollo Management, TPG Capital and Standard General, will own more than 60 percent of the new company, known as ALST Casino HoldCo LLC. The banks, including City National Bank and Bank of America, will own less than a third of the new company.
Apollo and TPG already hold an ownership stake in Caesars Entertainment Corp. TPG, along with Leonard Green & Partners, also owns a majority of the Palms.
Reaser told the commission that while Stations would manage the property, its owners have hired an “asset manager that will meet weekly with the management committee.”
The four members of the committee are Soohyung Kim, James Coulter, Eugene Irvin Davis and Ellis Landau.
“The asset manager will be the eyes and ears of the owners on the property,” Reaser said.
Chairman Peter Bernhard said his only concern “is the potential deadlock issue of the board” with only four members. He requested the company prepare occasional reports for the commission to “see if it’s working.”
Commissioner Dr. Tony Alamo said Aliante’s restructuring was a positive development, despite its “very hard location.”
The hotel-casino has 202 rooms, 2,000 slot machines, 36 table games, bingo, poker, a race and sports book, six restaurants, and a 650-seat showroom. The property in North Las Vegas opened in November 2008 just as the recession began to devastate the local economy and a year after Station Casinos completed a buyout that took the gaming company private.
The resort’s lenders purchased the property at a fraction of the original cost of $662 million. A deal, Bernhard said, that Apollo and others saw as “a good opportunity to buy debt at a reduced amount.”
Commissioners Randolph Townsend and John Moran Jr. joined with Bernhard and Alamo to approve the deal. Commissioner Joseph Brown recused himself because his law firm, Jones Vargas, has done business with Station Casinos.
Fitzgeralds, meanwhile, was purchased for an undisclosed price by brothers Derek and Gregory Stevens, who also own two-thirds of the Golden Gate. Derek Stevens will own 78 percent, while Gregory Stevens owning the remainder, according to commission documents.
Derek Stevens will manage Desert Rock Enterprises II, the company that owns Fitzgeralds.
Barden was 67 when he died of lung cancer on May 19. In 2010, Black Enterprise magazine ranked Barden Cos. as the 10th highest-grossing black-owned company, with $405 million in revenue.
In 2001, Barden became the first black owner of a Las Vegas casino with his purchase of Fitzgeralds.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at
email@example.com or 702-477-3893.