Churchill Downs Inc. acquires Mississippi gaming resort

GREENVILLE, MISSISSIPPI Churchill Downs Inc. has agreed to acquire Harlow’s Casino Resort & Hotel in Greenville, Mississippi, in a transaction valued at approximately US$138 million.

Churchill Downs will pay the purchase price in cash, to be funded from available cash on hand and a revolving credit facility. Closing is expected to occur within six months.

Harlow’s, which opened in November 2007, is owned by affiliates of private investment groups Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Inc. and Oak Hill Advisors LP, and private investor Jess M. Ravich.

The casino resort and hotel are located on 69 acres of leased land adjacent to the Mississippi River. Harlow’s features a 33,000-sq.-ft. gaming floor with 841 slot machines, 23 table games and a poker room; a five-story, 105-key attached hotel; a 2,600-seat entertainment center; and three separate dining areas.

For the 12 months ending July 31, Harlow’s recorded US$50.4 million in net revenue. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Churchill Downs’ reported earnings per share in the 12 months immediately following closing of the transaction in the amount of US$0.27 to US$0.31 per share.

“With the acquisition of Harlow’s, we continue our diversification strategy across our racing, gaming and online business units,” says Churchill DOwns President and CEO Robert L. Evans. “The key determinants of our decision to acquire Harlow’s were further strategic business and geographic diversification, the appeal of Mississippi as a business and gaming location, an attractive valuation, multiple paths to future growth, and the performance of Harlow’s outstanding team of approximately 400 employees who we look forward to welcoming to the Churchill Downs family.”

Churchill Downs Incorporated, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, owns and operates four renowned thoroughbred racing facilities: Arlington Park in Illinois, Calder Casino and Race Course in Florida, Churchill Downs Race Track in Kentucky and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in Louisiana.