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Penn National Gaming Splits Into Two Companies

Plan To "Create Two Well-Capitalized Companies"

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Penn National Gaming announced Thursday that it will split into two separate publicly traded firms. According to Penn National, the move is the first of its kind for a gaming company.

One will be for its “gaming operating assets” and the other for its “real property assets.”

The move is subject to approval by gaming regulatory bodies. Penn National has casinos across the country, including Nevada. The company owns the “Hollywood Casino” brand.

Peter Carlino, CEO of Penn National Gaming, said in the press release:

“This proposed transaction would be transformational for Penn National and its shareholders and presents a direct path toward unlocking the tremendous value of our real estate asset portfolio. Our plan is to create two well capitalized companies with strong free cash flow that are positioned for growth in the gaming and [real estate investment trust] sectors.

The transaction and new ownership structure would permit both companies to best address market and growth opportunities in their respective industries through access to a lower blended cost of capital, fewer regulatory license ownership restrictions, a new capital funding source for the gaming industry by creating an industry specific REIT, and potential opportunities to diversify in the future beyond the gaming industry."

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the move could start a “trend” within the gaming industry, a J.P. Morgan gaming analyst was quoted as saying. Some of the biggest casino companies in the world face debt issues.

Bloomberg News reported that Penn National’s stock prize surged to its highest mark since 2008 after it announced the intricate plan to split.

According to Penn National, its 29 gaming properties in 19 jurisdictions contain 36,800 gaming machines, about 850 table games, 2,900 hotel rooms and about 1.6 million square feet of gaming floor space.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus