Las Vegas Sands Corp. entered into a definitive agreement under which Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, will acquire the Sands Bethlehem property in Pennsylvania for a total enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.
Wind Creek Hospitality currently owns and operates nine gaming and entertainment facilities located in six jurisdictions across the United States and the Caribbean, including three leading casino resorts located on the Tribe’s reservation lands in Alabama.
The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which will be integrated into the Wind Creek Hospitality portfolio, represents a best-in-class, Las Vegas-style resort, located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, approximately 80 miles from New York City. Amenities include a 282-room AAA four-diamond hotel, a 183,000-square-foot casino floor featuring 3,000 slots and electronic table games, 200 table games, numerous food and beverage outlets, a 150,000 square foot retail mall, and a multi-purpose event center.
Sands Bethlehem President Brian Carr said the pending sale would not impact the work of the dedicated and loyal team members who, he said, will keep their focus right where it needs to be. “We've become an important regional entertainment destination because of our commitment to our customers. That’s not going to change regardless of what the sign on the top of the building might read. I’m confident our entire team will provide a smooth and seamless transition for new ownership while at the same time maintaining the strong level of guest service for which we have become known,” said Carr.
Las Vegas Sands Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Dumont said that while many options exist for the use of the sale proceeds, the most likely use would be consistent with the company’s long-held strategic direction when it comes to deploying capital.
Further communications from Wind Creek Hospitality about this transaction will be limited until it has had the opportunity to meet with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, other regulatory agencies, its new Bethlehem team members, community leaders, and future partners.
Wind Creek Hospitality expects to fund the acquisition with a combination of existing cash on its balance sheet and new debt financing. Credit Suisse has provided committed financing for the proposed transaction. Wind Creek Hospitality anticipates that the additional cash flow resulting from the acquisition will allow it to pay down debt on an accelerated basis after closing.
Approvals and timing
The transaction is subject to the approval of applicable gaming authorities, the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and other customary closing conditions. The companies expect the transaction to close later in 2018 or early 2019.
Innovation Capital, LLC is the exclusive financial advisor and Cooper Levenson P.A. is legal counsel to Wind Creek Hospitality in connection with the transaction.
Sources: Wind Creek Hospitality, Las Vegas Sands Corp.