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Matthew Crowley

Ameristar founder's estate will offer 4.56 million shares

17 May 2011

Ameristar Casinos, a Las Vegas-based casino operator, on Monday said the estate of Craig Neilsen has agreed to sell 4.56 million shares of Ameristar common stock in an underwritten public offering.

The estate now owns about 15 percent of Ameristar's outstanding common stock; after the offering, it will own about 0.77 percent.

In a statement, Ameristar said it won't receive any proceeds from the offering and said the offering won't change the company's total number of outstanding common-stock shares.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is acting as the offering's sole underwriter.

On April 19, the company completed the repurchase of 26.15 million shares of its common stock from Craig Neilsen's estate that was controlled by the foundation for $17.50 a share. The $457.6 million transaction represented 45 percent of Ameristar's outstanding shares and 83 percent of the estate's ownership in the company.

Neilsen, who founded Ameristar, died in 2006. Ameristar operates casinos in seven regional markets including Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Colorado. The company does not have a resort in Las Vegas but operates hotel-casinos in Jackpot in Northern Nevada.

Ameristar shares fell 22 cents, or 0.98 percent, Monday to close at $22.78 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.