05/29/2008 11:00PM

Penn National merger delayed


Penn National Gaming Inc., the owner of several racetrack-casinos and other gambling properties, said on Thursday night that a proposed $6.1 billion merger with two venture capital funds would not be completed by the planned June 15 because of delays in acquiring approval by state regulatory boards.

The announcement is considered a sign that the merger may not go forward as planned with Fortress Investment Group and Centerbridge Partners, two venture capital groups that reached an agreement with Penn National last year to buy the company for $67 a share. On Friday, Penn National's stock was trading at just above $45 a share, a sign that investors do not believe the deal will be completed under increasingly tight credit markets.

Penn National's shareholders approved the deal last December. Since then, the company has been seeking approval for the merger in the 15 states and Canadian provinces in which it owns gambling properties. Five of those states are still in the review process.

Among racing properties, Penn National owns Penn National in Pennsylvania; Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia; and Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico.