PDS takes aim at the Regent

Jul 10, 2001 6:18 AM

With a new stalking horse in the race, the Regent Las Vegas may be moving closer to a buyer this week.

Jumping off Peccole Nevada’s bid, Heller Financial saddled up with PDS Gaming to enter a last-minute offer for the struggling Summerlin resort. PDS chief executive Johan Finley now hopes that U.S. Bankruptcy Court will accept the Heller-PDS package on Thursday.

“The train is heading down the tracks. We’re making progress,’’ Finley told GamingToday. “Our financing is all there.’’

Finley said the Heller-PDS offer is “substantially similar’’ to Peccole’s, which contained $85 million in cash, $25 million in notes and $10 million in preferred stock. As part of the deal, PDS, which holds $41 million in slot leases at the Regent, would slash the resort’s $1.4 million monthly payments in half.

If accepted, the Bankruptcy Court will probably set another 30-day period for bidders to surpass the so-called stalking horse offer.

There has been fevered speculation about additional proposals from Peccole and Regent owner Seven Circle Resorts. “They lost $140 million and they have a strong interest in reacquiring the property,’’ Finley said of Seven Circle.

Lynn Purdue, spokeswoman for Peccole, said Monday that the development company is seeking a new partner and “will re-submit’’ a bid.

Lanis O’Steen, the Regent’s chief restructuring officer, said the latest round of maneuvers could benefit the 461-room resort. He noted that the Regent’s initial $20 million loan came as a result of such delays.

“The way I look at it, the competition has just increased,’’ O’Steen said.

Finley declined to identify the proposed casino operator in the Heller-PDS bid. PDS operates the small Gambler casino in Reno, but Finley said his company was not interested in running the Regent. PDS recently pulled out of a deal to buy the P.T.’s Pubs chain. Last year, before buying the Gambler, it called off plans to purchase the Four Queens for $30 million.

Heller, based in Chicago, helped to finance the Pioneer Club sale in Laughlin.