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Arnold M. Knightly

Mergers and acquisitions: Station buyout clears last hurdle

5 November 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Station Casinos cleared its final hurdle to going private, winning approval of its $5.4 management-led buyout from the National Indian Gaming Commission, the company said Friday.

The Indian commission's approval clears the way for the $90 per share buyout to close early next week, possibly by Tuesday, according to regulatory filings submitted by the locals gaming company.

The company's stock, which closed at 89.85 Friday, up 15 cents, or 0.17 percent, will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange as soon the deal closes.

The deal also includes the assumption of $2.3 billion in debt and the paying off of a $1.1 billion revolving line of credit.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said the company would not comment beyond the filing.

The Indian commission's approval was necessary because Station Casinos manages the Thunder Valley Casino outside Sacramento, Calif., for the United Auburn Indian Community. The deal already received approval from Nevada regulators in October and Station Casino's shareholders in August.

When the buyout closes, Stations Casinos will be owned by Fertitta Colony Partners, a partnership between the gaming company founding family, the Fertittas, and the Los Angeles-base real estate firm Colony Capital.

Some of the gaming company's executives and senior management will hold minor ownership shares once the deal closes.

Under the buyout agreement, the partnership will be controlled by Station Casinos Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank Fertitta III, company Vice Chairman and President Lorenzo Fertitta and Tom Barrack, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital.

The Fertitta brothers will retain their current positions and will operate the company on a day-to-day basis.

Colony Capital owns a 60 percent stake in the Las Vegas Hilton through a separate fund. The firm also has ownership interests in casinos in New Jersey, Mississippi and Indiana.

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