International edition
June 24, 2021

Avenue Capital will own the largest single stake in the firm - 21.7 %

New owners approved for three Trump casinos in Atlantic City

(US).- The New Jersey Casino Control Commission gave preliminary approval to a group led by New York-based Avenue Capital Management to own Trump Entertainment Resorts. The approval paves the way for Trump Entertainment to emerge from its third bankruptcy by Monday.


he name on the casinos is still Trump, but the main owners of three Atlantic City casinos are now the company's bond holders. Avenue Capital, which specializes in buying the debt of distressed companies and trying to turn them around, will own the largest single stake in the company - 21.7 %.

Marc Lasry, Avenue Capital's CEO, said it plans to operate the casinos for at least the next five years. "We believe that five years from now, that equity (will be) worth a huge amount of money," he said. "That's the bet we're making.

"The biggest issue Trump had was it was just massively over-leveraged," Lasry said.
"I'm nervous about it," he admitted. "I'm also excited. It's a phenomenal opportunity. But at the same time, there's a lot of challenges. I hope we will be able to do a good job."

A bankruptcy court judge chose the bond holders' bid for the company over one pressed by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has appealed that decision. Even though his name will remain on the casinos, Donald Trump will own no more than 10 % of the company, however.

The company is expected to proceed with efforts to sell its smallest gambling hall, Trump Marina. Lasry said the company is fielding expressions of interest from several potential buyers.

Whether it will be sold or Trump will keep and renovate it depends on how much the buyers bid, he added. "You need to spend quite a lot of money fixing it up," he said. "We may come to a conclusion that the value of the Marina is greater than what someone is willing to give us."

Trump Entertainment also owns the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel Casino. Lasry said Avenue Capital does not plan to take cash out of Trump Entertainment over the next five years and is open to making additional capital investments in Trump if necessary.

Due to the bankruptcy proceeding, the company's debt will be cut to us$ 334 million, from nearly us$ 1.8 billion.

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