NOTE: I stole that headline from the lede (or lead) to Liz Bentsen’s article, which seems to be the most complete coverage of the story that confronted me as I straggled into work late this morning.
The story is: Landry’s Restaurants is buying the Golden Nugget from Tim Poster and Tom Brietling.
From the LV Sun:
A year after jumping into the gaming industry with their first big casino deal, the owners of downtown’s historic Golden Nugget have sold the property to the owner of the Landry’s and Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants for about $295 million.
The Poster Financial Group, a private investment firm established by Internet millionaires Timothy Poster and Tom Breitling, sold the 4,000-square-foot casino and 1,907-room hotel — downtown’s largest and most upscale — to Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants Inc.
The deal, which includes $140 million cash and the assumption of $155 million in debt, is subject to approval by Nevada gaming regulators.
Poster and Breitling, who announced they were buying the Nugget and the Golden Nugget Laughlin for $215 million in June 2003 and completed the transaction in January 2004, capitalized much of their acquisition from MGM Mirage with funds realized from the sale of an online reservation company.
Poster and Breitling announced in November they were selling the Laughlin property to Barrick Gaming Corp. for $31 million.
Publicly traded Landry’s, which operates a variety of casual-dining and entertainment companies, owns more than 300 restaurants, including the Rainforest Cafe chain. The company employs more than 30,000 people in 36 states.
Those are just the quick details: there is a lot of good analysis and backstory in the article itself.
My thoughts: It’s a shame to see the Poster group selling the property. I thought they, along with Barrick Gaming, have brought a lot of excitement back to downtown. I’ve gotten the chance to get to know a few people in the organization, and they are class all the way.
Hopefully Landry’s doesn’t rip out Zax and put one of their “casual-dining and entertainment complexes” in there in its place.
In other news, Jack Binion is looking to acquire a Las Vegas casino, maybe on the Strip. The New Frontier is out, so that narrows it down to the Riviera, Sahara, IP, and any spinoffs from the Harrah’s/Caesars deal. How does Binion’s Flamingo sound?
Mr. Binion also gets kudos for the quote of the day:
“There’s an old gambling expression that you can tell a trapper by his pelts. The dollars speak for themselves.”
You can read the story here.