Apollo Wins Shareholders' and Regulatory Approval for Great Canadian Gaming Takeover
Updated December 31, 2020
Apollo Global Management Inc.'s improved offer for Great Canadian Gaming Corp. finally won key shareholder approval at GCGC's Dec. 23 shareholders meeting. Apollo raised its offer to US$1.9 billion — an increase of 15 per cent — earlier this month as it pushed to complete a deal which had faced stiff opposition in its initial form.
Holders of 79 per cent of the shares voted at the special meeting in favour of the transaction, executives said on a webcast. That cleared the two-thirds hurdle needed for the deal to take effect. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter, but still needs some further regulatory approval.
On December 30, the revised $45-per-share deal reached another milestone, as Great Canadian announced it had received approval from the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Apollo’s initial bid of $39 per share hit immediate opposition after it was announced in November, and it wasn’t until the firm boosted the offer to $45 a share that holdout investors including CI Global Asset Management, BloombergSen Inc. and Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. agreed to support the deal. Great Canadian operates 26 gaming, entertainment and hospitality facilities across Canada.
Apollo has said it’s committed to maintaining Great Canadian’s current operations and even expects to increase its properties. The New York-based firm said it plans to drive growth by expanding non-gaming facilities, bolstering loyalty and marketing programs and improving the gaming operations.
Apollo previously has been involved in the gaming industry, including through the US$30.7 billion takeover of Caesars Entertainment, then known as Harrah’s, which was completed in 2008.
Great Canadian has struggled this year as the pandemic forced the suspension of operations at a number of its facilities. The company posted $67.9 million in net losses in its two most recent quarters. However, the firm’s operations have continued to generate cash throughout the pandemic.