09/07/2009 11:00PM

Chickasaw Nation to buy Remington Park


A company owned by the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma has won an auction to purchase Remington Park in Oklahoma City from bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp., a top official involved in the bankruptcy said Tuesday.

Global Gaming Group, the Chickasaw company, won the rights to purchase the racetrack and casino after entering an $80.25 million bid a month ago. No other bidder challenged Global Gaming's bid in an auction that was held on Tuesday morning in New York, according to Michael Wildish, an official with Miller Buckfire, a bankruptcy consultant hired by Magna.

The sale is expected to be approved by the U.S. bankruptcy court at a hearing on Sept. 14 or 15, according to Wildish.

Remington Park, which holds Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse race meets, derives the vast majority of its revenue from its 700 slot machines. In 2008, the machines generated income of $68.2 million at the track. The Chickasaw Nation already owns 17 gambling properties in Oklahoma. Officials for the company have previously said that they intend to continue to hold race meets at the track.

Remington Park is the first property to be sold by Magna as part of its bankruptcy organization. The company filed for bankruptcy in March. Its parent company, MI Developments, is its largest creditor, owed $371 million.

Last week, Magna said in documents filed with the court that it had withdrawn its most valuable properties from the auction that was scheduled for Tuesday. The properties included Santa Anita Park in Southern California and Lone Star Park in Grand Prarie, Texas, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth.

The withdrawal has raised doubts about Magna's reorganization plan, which requires the company to repay its debts through the sale of its properties. Santa Anita and Lone Star, which were purchased by Magna for $126 million and $99 million, respectively, were expected to generate at least $250 million in revenue.

Wildish said that the properties were withdrawn from the Tuesday auction as an "administrative issue" because an auction cannot be held until 30 days after the company has identified a leading bidder for the properties. So far, Magna has not come to terms with the leading bidders, according to Wildish, though it continues to negotiate with so-called "stalking horses."

"It's taking longer to name the stalking horses than was planned," Wildish said. "We are very close to naming a stalking horse, and when we do, then we will schedule another auction."

Magna has also scheduled an auction for Thursday to sell its Thistledown racetrack in Ohio, but Wildish said that the auction will almost certainly be moved. Thistledown is one of seven racetracks in Ohio that received authorization this summer to operate 2,500 slot machines, but the authorization has been challenged in court. The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legitimacy of the authorization in the next several months.