Boyd Gaming declines option to buy other Borgata half

ATLANTIC CITY Boyd Gaming Corp. has declined its right of first refusal option to acquire the 50% stake of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa that is being sold by joint venture partner MGM Resorts International.

MGM Resorts has accepted an offer of about US$250 million for its half of Atlantic City’s hottest gaming resort. The identity of the buyer has not formally been made public, but multiple published reports say it is Los Angeles-based buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners LP.

New Jersey gaming regulators earlier this year ordered MGM Resorts to either cut ties with its Macau partner, Pansy Ho, or to divest of its New Jersey assets, including Borgata. The Las Vegas-based gaming giant chose the latter route. New Jersey regulators do not approve of Pansy Ho as a business partner because her father, Macau gaming magnate Stanley Ho, reputedly has ties to organized crime.

Boyd says it is comfortable owning only half of the 2,800-key resort. “Given other opportunities and our current focus on deleveraging our balance sheet, the current offer would not provide a sufficient return on investment for our shareholders,” the company says in a statement. “Despite this decision, we are confident in the future of Borgata. The property represents a major investment by Boyd Gaming, and it has delivered substantial value for our shareholders.