11/07/2008 12:00AM

Magna stock falls 30 percent


Shares in Magna Entertainment Corp., the struggling owner or operator of 10 U.S. racetracks, plunged again on Friday, one day after the company said that it had hired a firm specializing in bankruptcies as an advisor.

The 87-cent drop on Friday wiped out gains the shares had made earlier in the week in advance of a Tuesday referendum authorizing slot machines at five Maryland locations, a vote that will eventually give Maryland's horsemen and racetracks – including Magna's Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course – more than $140 million annually in subsidies. The shares closed at $1.99 on Friday, down 30.4 percent.

Magna released financial documents for the third quarter late on Wednesday night that showed the company has lost $116.1 million for the first nine months of this year. The company has $550 million in debt, $250 million of which was due this year but has not been repaid.

Magna, which has not scheduled a conference call to discuss its third-quarter results, said in a release accompanying the financial documents that it has hired Miller Buckfire & Co. as a financial advisor. Most companies that Miller Buckfire advises are currently in bankruptcy or emerging from bankruptcy.