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Howard Stutz

Station Casinos gets gaming license amendment, denies rumors of going public

29 May 2015

State gaming regulators removed a condition Thursday from Station Casinos’ gaming license that was a holdover from when it was owned by a private equity firm. However, the company’s chief financial officer said it doesn’t mean the privately held casino operator was going public anytime soon.

The change, approved unanimously approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Control Board, allows Station Casinos to pay financial distributions to the company’s owners without approval from gaming regulators. Station Casinos has publicly held debt.

A published report late Wednesday said Station Casinos was intending to file an initial public offering.

The company was publicly traded before 2008, when private equity ownership took over Station Casinos.

Station Casinos Chief Financial Officer Marc Falcone said before the commission meeting an IPO is “one option” the company might consider among other financial moves.

Falcone responded with a “no comment” on a report by Bloomberg News that an IPO was on the table.

Falcone said the Gaming Commission’s ruling had nothing to do with an IPO.

“They are not related,” Falcone said.

The Gaming Commission didn’t ask any questions of Station Casinos executives at the hearing about the potential IPO.

“We just want to be treated no differently from casinos with private owners, such as South Point and Treasure Island,” Station Casinos General Counsel Richard Haskins told the Gaming Control Board earlier this month.

Station Casinos representatives said the ownership structure changed after the company’s bankruptcy reorganization in 2011. Brothers Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta control 58 percent of the company. Deutsche Bank owns 25 percent, and bondholders control the other 17 percent.

Falcone told the Gaming Commission the company’s balance sheet has improved after emerging from bankruptcy. Cash flow has grown 48 percent and has an overall debt of $2 billion after reducing the figure by $400 million.

Station Casinos canceled plans announced in March to raise $300 million in new debt. Falcone said the reasons were “off the record.”

Falcone said the Las Vegas locals gaming market was one of the strongest in the United States.

Station Casinos, which has reported 16 straight quarters of increased cash flow, isn’t reliant on high-end baccarat play from Macau.
Station Casinos gets gaming license amendment, denies rumors of going public is republished from