Bally’s Committee Reportedly Holding Talks with Standard General

A special committee of Bally’s (NYSE: BALY) independent directors formed to consider Standard General’s takeover offer is reportedly in discussions with the hedge fund that’s the largest shareholder in the regional casino operator.

Bally’s on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. A special committee of the operator’s board is said to be in talks with Standard General regarding a takeover offer. (Image: Wayne Parry/AP)

Bally’s stock surged on Tuesday following a report by CTFN that the committee, which Bally’s formed on March 12, was in discussions with Standard General regarding its $15 a share takeover bid floated on March 11. Bally’s director Soo Kim is the founder of the money manager that owns about 23% of the gaming company’s shares. He’s not a member of the special committee.

Citing an unidentified source close to the matter, CTFN reported that Bally’s could soon make an announcement regarding the takeover bid, but it’s not clear what will be said or when that will take place. The media outlet has previously reported that the Rhode Island-based gaming company is giving more consideration to this offer than it did to Standard General’s $38 per share acquisition overture made in March 2022.

On March 28, the special committee told investors it hired Macquarie Capital as its financial advisor and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as its legal counsel.

Split Views on Bally’s Takeover Offer

The group of directors considering the takeover offer cautioned that, as of March 28, no decisions have been made and there are no guarantees a transaction will come to pass.

The Special Committee cautions Bally’s stockholders and others considering trading the Company’s securities that no decisions have been made with respect to the Proposal,” according to a statement. “There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be made or accepted, that any agreement will be executed or that any transaction will be consummated.”

While some analysts believe Bally’s should accept the acquisition proposal, but probably won’t, an investor recently said Standard General is being opportunistic with its latest offer and doesn’t have shareholders’ best interests in mind.

In a letter to Bally’s board last week, K&F Growth Capital, which owns 1% of the casino operator’s stock, encouraged directors to reject the buyout offer. Additionally, K&F implored directors to consider abandoning costly projects in Las Vegas and New York, and to find a partner for Bally’s $1.1 billion Chicago casino hotel. The money manager also said the gaming company should consider asset sales to reduce leverage.

Bally’s Embattled

Amid a spate of credit downgrades that have taken the operator deeper into junk status, and as the company searches for $800 million to finish the permanent Chicago casino resort, Bally’s could be in a precarious position — one that invited the advances of Standard General.

The hedge fund has promised that if it’s successful in acquiring the gaming firm, it will complete the Chicago project. Other post-acquisition plans, assuming a transaction is consummated, aren’t immediately clear at this point.

Speculation indicates that if it’s successful in acquiring Bally’s, Standard General could sell some of the gaming operator’s real estate to improve the balance sheet and, potentially, ready it for another initial public offering (IPO) several years from now.

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