Executives of Park Place Entertainment will likely play a key role in any court agreement that would see the Aladdin emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Strip casino giant, which operates the neighboring Paris-Bally’s complex, owns nearly a third of the Aladdin’s bonds and could transform that publicly issued debt into ownership of the 2,567-room megaresort.
But the financial uncertainty created by the ongoing decline in Slot Deposit Pulsa worldwide travel in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would likely keep Park Place bosses from focusing too much energy on the bankruptcy process, said one Wall Street observer.
“This is not a good environment to focus on mergers and acquisitions,” said John Leupp, a Credit Suisse First Boston bond analyst. “Park Place has more pressing issues to deal with in its portfolio across the country.”
The 13-month-old Aladdin was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday.
In 1999, Park Place Chief Executive Officer Arthur Goldberg spearheaded the purchase of Aladdin bonds valued at $222 million for about $17 million, or about 25 cents on the dollar.
The theory: If the 2,567-room property succeeded after its August 2000 opening, the bonds would increase in value, and Park Place could sell them at a profit.
If it failed, the bonds could be converted into an equity position, much like billionaire Carl Icahn did in 1997 and 1998, giving him ownership of the then-bankrupt Stratosphere.
While refusing to publicly discuss their intentions after Aladdin Gaming filed Friday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Park Place executives are said to be quietly waiting to see how the bankruptcy process plays out.
Their interests as the property’s largest bondholder would fall immediately behind those of the group of banks led by the Bank of Nova Scotia that arranged the Aladdin $440 million bank debt.
Sources say that for months Bank of Nova Scotia representatives have attempted to find a buyer for the Aladdin Gaming interests of the megaresort’s co-owners, the Sommer Family Trust and London Clubs International.
Executives at Park Place and MGM Mirage, among others, were queried, but there were no takers.
The Sommer trust and London Clubs were even persuaded by their bankers and others to strike a deal that would have seen the British company purchase the family trust’s 57 percent share of the property. London Clubs owns nearly 40 percent, with the remainder held by several individuals, including former Aladdin Chief Executive Officer Richard Goeglein.
But those talks unraveled late last month, and Aladdin debts totaling $12.8 million went unpaid in recent weeks, leading to the bankruptcy filing, as business plunged at the megaresort in the wake of the terror attacks.
That same worldwide travel decline has pushed Park Place to cut at least 1,500 jobs at its Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Flamingo and Las Vegas Hilton.
“These guys have a seat at the table,” analyst Leupp said. “They could certainly negotiate with the bank group to affect a restructuring that would allow them to take control of the company, but there’s no reason to rush out and entertain an acquisition right now.
“I suspect the Aladdin situation is bad right now and is going to get worse in the short run, and the worse it gets, the better the environment for a new buyer.”