WASHINGTON May 29 The Federal Trade Commission
said on Wednesday it filed a complaint aimed at stopping casino
operator Pinnacle Entertainment Inc from buying rival
Ameristar Casinos Inc because the merger would reduce
competition and lead to higher prices for customers in St. Louis
and Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In its complaint, the FTC said the deal's value was $2.8
billion because Pinnacle will pay $869 million for Ameristar's
outstanding stock and assume $1.9 billion in debt.
Pinnacle's properties include seven casinos, two racetracks
and the Heartland Poker Tour, according to its web site.
Ameristar owns eight casinos, the FTC said.
Both companies have or soon will have casinos around Lake
Charles, Louisiana, and St. Louis, Missouri, which means that
the deal would reduce the number of casino owners in the area,
potentially leading to higher prices and worse service for
customers, the FTC said.
Pinnacle disagreed with the FTC's analysis of the deal.
"The merger of these two gaming-entertainment property
portfolios would not have any adverse effect on competition in
any of the geographies in which the combined company would
operate," Anthony Sanfilippo, CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment,
said in a statement.
Ameristar declined to comment.
The FTC will challenge the proposed transaction by arguing
its case before an internal FTC judge. It has also authorized
its staff to seek a court order preventing the deal from