New bidder for Trop?

With much, but not all of the site work done, I’m taking a bold leap back into the gaming news blogosphere today.

I haven’t heard much about this possible bidder for the Columbia Sussex casino empire, but that might just be because I’ve spent more time poring over css style sheets than reading the news. And before you ask, I’m not related to Gerald Schwartz. From ReportonBusiness.com:

Onex Corp. is ready to place a bet on the U.S. gambling industry, with struggling casino icon Tropicana Entertainment LLC a potential target for Gerald Schwartz’s buyout firm.

Onex has top-end help in its hunt for a gambling deal, teaming up with Alex Yemenidjian, the former president of Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Grand casino empire. The firm is employing the same strategy in another beat-up business, building products, where Onex has joined with Masonite International Corp. founder Philip Orsino to seek deals.

In gambling, the focus isn’t just on the neon and flash of the Las Vegas strip, where the Tropicana is a well-known name in lights, but in more out-of-the-way places. Onex made a bid for Gateway Casinos Income Fund, which runs gambling operations in Western Canada, but fell short in that 2007 takeover battle.

Onex eyes move into gambling

I wouldn’t exactly call Columbia Sussex a “casino icon,” but what do I know?

Onex is a private equity company:

We also pursue opportunities to create value by putting a portion of Onex’ substantial cash resources to work in additional asset classes that we believe will generate superior returns. Through Onex Real Estate Partners, our acquisition partnership with a team of highly experienced industry professionals, we are investing in high-quality commercial and multi-unit residential real estate. We may invest in other asset classes where we believe we can achieve appropriate returns and where the activities can lead to acquisition opportunities.

I wonder if the US/Canadian exchange rate would make this a good bet for Onex? At the very least, TropEnt owns some pretty valuable real estate on the Strip.