Lender looks to take over Barrick Gaming Corp.

Jun 28, 2005 4:12 AM

Clarity relative to Barrick Gaming Corporation and its operation of four downtown Las Vegas properties is expected on Wednesday when the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission hold back-to-back meetings to act on a move by a lender, described as a landlord, to inject more cash into the operation.

Initially, according to press reports, the meetings were being held to consider an application by Tamares Group, identified as a Barrick property landlord, to participate in the casino operations.

However, Monday, a press release from Tamares Group, that described itself as an international privately owned investment company, said that it had "signed a purchase and sale agreement whereby Tamares, or its designated appointee, will acquire 100% of the Barrick Gaming Corporation subsidiaries which currently lease the Plaza, Las Vegas Club, Western and Gold Spike casinos in Las -Vegas."

The release went on to say, "The four properties cited are now 100% owned by Tamares following the company’s recent acquisition of Barrick."

The release conceded that "certain aspects of the purchase and sale agreement are subject to regulatory approval" but Steve Crystal, Barrick president and hands-on operator of the four casino properties, said that Wednesday’s regulatory hearings would not deal with the Barrick sale. "The meetings were required in order for Tamares to add more money to the Barrick operation," he explained.

The Tamares Group was founded by a Finn named Schlomo Zabludowicz and is now run by his son, Poju.

Commenting on the Barrick affair, Poju Zabludowicz, chairman and CEO of Tamares Group, said:

"The decision to acquire Barrick’s minority holding in these four casino hotels, and to sign the purchase and sale agreement for the subsidiaries leasing the properties, has been driven by two factors. The primary one is that we remain, as we have since looking first at Las Vegas in 2002, very optimistic about the fantastic growth potential of our property portfolio here. The second is that Barrick’s executives wanted to realize the increased value of their stake in the four properties."