When the train pulls out of this station, you might find you've left some money behind. Station Casinos owns and operates nearly 20 casinos and hotel casinos that cater primarily to local Las Vegas area residents. Most operate under the Station and Fiesta brand names, and feature gaming, restaurants, and entertainment options. Included in its holdings are Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, and Palace Station. Frank Fertitta III (chairman and CEO) and his brother Lorenzo (vice chairman), sons of Station Casinos founder Frank Fertitta Jr., own the biggest share of the company. Station Casinos filed for Chapter 11 in 2009. It exited bankruptcy in 2011 in a reorganization that slashed its massive debt.
The casino industry fell on hard times as a result of the economic recession, and Station Casinos was no exception. In order to keep operating and significantly lower its $5.7 billion debt, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. A restructured company emerged in 2011 with the Fertitta brothers investing $200 million into Station Casinos in order to raise their ownership stake from 25% to 45%. In addition, Deutsche Bank has a 25% stake, while JPMorgan Chase and former bondholders each hold 15%.
The company's subsidiary that had previously managed and owned 50% of Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa & Casino in suburban Las Vegas underwent a reorganization after filing a separate bankruptcy case in 2010. Green Valley Ranch was a joint venture with Greenspun Corp. (Greenspun is a family-owned investment group that also owns media assets such as the Las Vegas Sun and real-estate developer American Nevada.) Station Casinos took sole control of Green Valley Ranch in a deal worth some $500 million, which was partly financed by a new loan. In addition, creditors including TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management took over ownership of Station's Aliante Station, another former joint venture with Greenspun, which Station continues to manage.
While Station's Vegas properties are all much smaller than the glitzy operations on the Las Vegas Strip, the company focuses on local gamblers, a market the company feels is a more stable business than relying on the tourist trade. This strategy did not prove a successful means to deal with the recession, which caused a decrease in consumer spending on leisure activities. In 2010 Casino Stations continued to report a net loss, as well as declines in casino, food and beverage, and room revenues.
The company racked up most of its previous debt in 2007, when it was acquired by a private equity investor group that included members of the Fertitta family and Colony Capital for about $5.5 billion. The Fertitta brothers are also majority owners of Ultimate Fighting Championship, which stages mixed martial arts fights in arenas across the country. – less