Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. to be acquired by Nevada casino firm, Eldorado Resorts, in $1.7 billion deal

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. – owner of Bettendorf's Isle of Capri Casino – announced this morning (9/19) it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Eldorado Resorts of Reno, Nevada in a stock and cash transaction valued at $1.7 billion.

Eldorado would acquire all the outstanding Isle stock for $23 per share, or 1.638 shares of Eldorado common stock for each share of Isle stock. The $1.7 billion value includes the assumption of the Isle's $929 million of long-term debt.

"The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both Eldorado Resorts, Inc. and Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc.," according to the Isle news release. "The transaction is subject to approval of the stockholders of Eldorado Resorts and Isle of Capri, the approval of applicable gaming authorities, the expiration of the applicable Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be consummated in the second quarter of 2017."

Shares of Isle stock (ISLE) jumped more than 30 percent to $22.10 per share in heavy trading Monday, while Eldorado (ERI) shares fell more than 1 percent to $14.06 per share.

"Certain stockholders of Eldorado and Isle of Capri who control approximately 24 percent and 35 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock of Eldorado and Isle of Capri, respectively, have signed agreements to vote in favor of the transaction," according to the company statement. "Upon completion of the transaction, Eldorado and Isle of Capri shareholders will hold approximately 62 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of the combined company's outstanding shares."

"In addition, subject to mutual agreement by both companies, two members of the Isle of Capri Board of Directors will be designated as members of the Eldorado Board of Directors effective immediately following the closing of the transaction," the companies announced.

Eldorado Resorts owns and operates seven properties in five states, including the Eldorado Resort Casino, the Silver Legacy Resort Casino and Circus Circus Resort Casino in Reno, NV; the Eldorado Resort Casino in Shreveport, LA; Scioto Downs Racino in Columbus, OH; Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Chester, WV; and Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, PA.

Isle of Capri Casinos owns or operates 14 casino properties in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

Isle founder and Bettendorf resident Bernie Goldstein helped push through legislation to allow low-stakes gambling aboard riverboats in Iowa in the early 1990's. He launched the first Iowa gambling boat, The Diamond Lady, in Bettendorf on April 1, 1991. Goldstein, who died in 2009, was known as the "father of modern riverboat gambling."

Initially gambling on the riverboats was limited to $5 bets and betting loss of no more than $250 per cruise on the riverboats. The gambling interests later convinced the legislature to abandon any betting or loss limits, and then removed the need for the gambling boats to even leave the dock.

The Isle of Capri in Bettendorf has been permanently docked on the riverfront, and just earlier this year moved its operations to a new $42-million facility on land between the company's two riverfront hotels.

Three of Goldstein's sons, Robert, Richard and Jeffrey, are members of the Isle of Capri Casino's Board of Directors, and Robert serves as chairman of the Isle board.

The Isle Iowa casino operations are in Bettendorf, Waterloo and Marquette. The corporate office of the Isle is in St. Louis.

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