Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (TSX:GC) (“Great Canadian” or the “Company”) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by funds (the “Apollo Funds”) managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO) (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo”). Under the terms of the agreement, Apollo Funds will acquire all the outstanding shares of Great Canadian common stock for C$39.00 per share in a transaction with a total enterprise valuation exceeding C$3.3 billion.
The purchase price represents a 59% premium to the 30-day VWAP as of November 9, 2020.
Great Canadian Gaming operates Casino Woodbine, Casino Ajax plus gaming facilities at Casino Rama,. Woodbine Mohawk, Georgian Downs and others. Casinos such as that at Woodbine was allowed to open briefly in September but have closed again due to increasing COVID-19 cases.
According to BarrieToday.com, the sale is not expected to affect GCGC’s facility at Georgian Downs or likely any other.
from BarrieToday.com: Gateway Casino Innisfil, which is part of a separate company that leases space inside the 5 Sideroad facility, is not expected to be impacted by the pending deal, which could be ratified in December.
“We’re not affected,” said Gateway spokesman Robert Mitchell.
With the proposed purchase of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation by Apollo Global Management for a reported $3.3 billion (Cdn.), Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) officials see the move as positive.
“The proposed acquisition is expected to support significant investment and profitable growth of gaming operations at Great Canadian casinos in Ontario,” said OLG president and CEO Duncan Hannay. “This benefits OLG, the province, and the communities that host 11 casinos operated by Great Canadian in Ontario.”
Following close of the transaction, Great Canadian will remain headquartered in Toronto, led by a Canadian management team and with Canadian board members. Apollo also anticipates that certain Canadian institutions may co-invest in the transaction to become equity owners in the Company alongside the Apollo Funds upon completion of the acquisition. Apollo is a responsible sponsor and has a long track record of success investing in companies in highly regulated industries, as well as Canada-based companies.
“The Board of Directors, based on a recommendation from the special committee of independent directors, has unanimously concluded that this transaction represents the best course of action for the Company. Factoring in our long-term prospects, this transaction will unlock value for our shareholders at a significant premium to our current share price,” stated Rod Baker, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We are pleased that this transaction represents a great opportunity for our shareholders, while continuing to support the success of the business longer term. We believe this transaction is beneficial for our shareholders, our team members, our guests, and other stakeholders as we continue to execute on our operational and development plans into 2021 and beyond, while we navigate through this volatile time. In addition, we believe Apollo’s extensive experience in the gaming sector will provide additional strategic benefits to help expand our gaming and hospitality offerings and to secure our position as a long-term market leader,” concluded Baker.
Apollo is committed to maintaining the Company’s current operational footprint and anticipates Great Canadian’s properties will increase under the Apollo Funds’ ownership. Apollo intends to help drive additional, incremental growth through initiatives such as expansion of non-gaming facilities, expanded loyalty and marketing programs, and gaming improvements that leverage the scale of the firm’s platform. Apollo recognizes Great Canadian’s strong track record of corporate citizenship and community involvement and will continue this legacy.
Alex van Hoek, Partner at Apollo, said: “Great Canadian is a leader in the gaming and entertainment industry and, based on our experience and knowledge of the space, we see opportunities to work with their talented team to drive additional growth and value. With an industry-leading portfolio of assets and established presence in the best geographic markets across Canada, we are excited to help bring an enhanced experience to more guests across Canada.”
Van Hoek added: “We also recognize the challenges of the current circumstances and are committed to working with the management team, regulators and health authorities to allow the Company to reopen its properties as soon as it’s safe to do so. We’re excited for the Company to welcome Great Canadian team members back to work, and we look forward to a time when employment and operations return to pre-COVID levels. We are of course also firmly committed to complying with applicable reopening rules as the health and safety of team members and guests will remain the highest priority.”
The transaction has been approved unanimously by the Board of Directors of Great Canadian, which determined that the transaction is fair from a financial point of view to shareholders and is in the best interests of the Company. The Company and the Special Committee of the Board of Directors received fairness opinions from Scotiabank and CIBC World Markets Inc., respectively, which subject to the assumptions, qualifications and limitations therein that, as of the date of each such opinion, the consideration to be received pursuant to the definitive agreement, is fair, from a financial point of view, to the Great Canadian shareholders. The Board of Directors of Great Canadian also unanimously resolved to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the transaction at the special meeting of shareholders that will be called to approve the transaction, which is expected to be held in December 2020.
The transaction is not subject to a financing condition. The transaction is structured as an arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia). The transaction will be subject to a number of closing conditions, including customary provincial and federal regulatory approvals (including under the Investment Canada Act and the Competition Act (Canada)), the receipt of necessary shareholder approvals, the receipt of the necessary approvals from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and the Company maintaining its credit facilities. Further details regarding the terms of the transaction are set out in the arrangement agreement, which will be publicly filed by Great Canadian under its profile at www.sedar.com.
Further information regarding the transaction will be included in an information circular to be mailed to Great Canadian shareholders. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
Scotiabank is serving as lead financial advisor to the Company and CIBC World Markets Inc. is serving as financial advisor to the Special Committee. McMillan LLP is serving as legal advisors to the Company and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is serving as legal advisors to the Special Committee.
Macquarie Capital acted as lead financial advisor to Apollo on the transaction. Deutsche Bank Securities and Barclays also acted as financial advisors to Apollo. Apollo’s legal advisors were Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Crestview Strategy is serving as Canadian public affairs and government relations advisors.
Apollo is a leading alternative investment manager with extensive experience in the gaming sector, including control investments made by its funds to grow and enhance the operations of Aliante, Gala Coral, Gamenet and PlayAGS (formerly American Gaming Systems), collective operations of which span the US, UK and Italy. Apollo has a 30-year track record of responsible investing, with its affiliated funds successfully owning companies in highly regulated industries such as gaming, healthcare, chemicals and aerospace.
ABOUT GREAT CANADIAN GAMING CORPORATION
Founded in 1982, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is an Ontario-based company that operates 25 gaming, entertainment and hospitality facilities in Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Fundamental to the Company’s culture is its commitment to social responsibility. “PROUD of our people, our business, our community” is Great Canadian’s brand that unifies the Company’s community, volunteering and social responsibility efforts. Under the PROUD program, Great Canadian annually supports over 1,400 charitable and non-profit organizations across Canada. In each Canadian gaming jurisdiction, a significant portion of gross gaming revenue from gaming facilities is retained by our Crown partners on behalf of their provincial government for the purpose of supporting programs like healthcare, education and social services.
Apollo is a leading global alternative investment manager with offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Bethesda, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Apollo had assets under management of approximately $433 billion as of September 30, 2020 in credit, private equity and real assets funds invested across a core group of nine industries where Apollo has considerable knowledge and resources. For more information about Apollo, please visit www.apollo.com
Greetings from CTHS National!
Dear CTHS Members,
Your email has been added to the initial release list to receive notifications. In the future, any regular paper notifications will also be released as e-blasts. In this
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2020 CTHS Elections
The deadline to submit nominations for the 2020 CTHS Elections was October 15, 2020. The National Office wishes to thank the returning and outgoing Directors for their work and welcome the new Directors. Below are the CTHS Boards for the term 2021-2023. New Directors are highlighted in Red.
Frank Di Giulio Jr.
Rolph A. Davis
The nonprofit awarded accreditation to 34 aftercare organizations, making them eligible for financial grants to support the care of their Thoroughbreds.
The 34 organizations include 26 previously accredited organizations and eight that received accreditation for the first time. The TAA, the only accrediting body in Thoroughbred aftercare, now has a network of 81 organizations with approximately 170 facilities in North America.
“We congratulate the aftercare organizations that earned TAA accreditation this year, including the new organizations joining the TAA roster,” TAA President John Phillips said. “We are proud to have a total of 81 accredited organizations across North America representing the gold standard in Thoroughbred aftercare. As our list of organizations receiving TAA funding increases, we ask industry participants to continue to support the TAA as we in turn fund these amazing accredited aftercare organizations and their 170 facilities.”
The organizations earning accreditation this year are:
- After the Races;
- Bright Futures Farm;
- CANTER Kentucky;
- Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare;
- Center for Racehorse Retraining;
- Central Kentucky Riding for Hope;
- Down the Stretch Ranch;
- Equine Advocates;
- Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation;
- Final Furlong;
- Friends of Ferdinand;
- Galloping Out;
- Harmony and Hope Horse Haven;
- Healing Arenas;
- Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue;
- Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds;
- Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue;
- Illinois Equine Humane Center;
- A. Pet Rescue;
- Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester;
- Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement;
- NEER North;
- Out Side In;
- A.C.E Fund;
- Remember Me Rescue;
- RVR Horse Rescue;
- Second Call Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement;
- Second Chance Thoroughbreds;
- The Foxie G. Foundation;
- The Susan S. Donaldson Foundation, Mereworth Farm;
- This Old Horse;
- Thoroughbred Retirement Network of Louisiana;
- Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation, and Careers (TRRAC); and
- War Horses at Rose Bower.
TAA-accredited organizations undergo a thorough application and inspection process prior to ensure they meet the TAA’s Code of Standards, which covers five key areas: operations, education, horse health care management, facility standards and services, and adoption policies and protocols. Facility inspections are conducted at all facilities housing Thoroughbreds for each organization. Ongoing updates and re-inspections are required of all organizations as a condition of TAA accreditation.
All organizations that hold TAA accreditation are eligible to receive financial grants to support the care of their Thoroughbreds. Grant applications are currently being reviewed and the total grant amount awarded by the TAA will be announced this month. Since 2012 the
1. NEW Public Health Office Restrictions: Note that these restrictions are for those in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
The new orders, in place from Saturday, November 7 at 10pm until Nov 23 at 12pm.
1.All businesses in the area to review their COVID-19 safety plans and return to strict adherance to their protocols.
2. Limit gatherings to immediate family only.
3. Restricts any group activities including indoor sports, yoga, spin classes, etc.
4. Calls for essential travel only within the Lower Mainland (Coastal and Fraser Health areas) and no travel in or out of these areas.
5. Calls for improved office safety protocols and recommends, if possible, work at home.
Note that we have been informed that this does NOT include restaurants, it is business as usual for restaurants. We have been in regular contact with our Provincial Government since the announcement on Saturday.
Addition of Amlodipine, Ciclesonide and Methadone to the Schedule of Prohibited Drugs in the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations (November 2, 2020)
In consultation with its Drug Advisory Committee, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) has officially added the following drugs to section 1 of the Schedule to the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations: Amlodipine, Ciclesonide and Methadone.
- Amlodipine is an approved veterinary drug used to reduce high blood pressure in cats. This drug is not recognized for use in horses.
- Ciclesonide is an inhaled steroid used to treat breathing problems in horses caused by asthma. The CPMA intends to develop and publish an Elimination Guideline for ciclesonide.
- Methadone is an opioid painkiller licensed for cats.
Any detection of the above drugs may result in a positive test.
The CPMA strongly recommends consulting a veterinarian on any decision to administer supplements or medications to a racehorse.
Testing for these drugs will begin on December 1, 2020.
From recording commercials on a phone in his closet to getting Assiniboia off and running during COVID-19, Darren Dunn talks 2020.
(Reprinted from Ivan Biggs’ At the Races column in the Canstar Community News)
This year’s horse racing season was, to say the least, eventful. What we didn’t know was the behind-the-scenes efforts to make the race season a reality at Assiniboia Downs in the face of a pandemic that shut down almost everything. In today’s question-and-answer column, Assiniboia Downs’ CEO Darren Dunn reveals his thoughts and the difficulties in making horse racing a go.
Q: What kinds of emotions were you feeling when the track had to shut down because of COVID?
A: I had great feelings of deep concern. I was keenly aware that if we were not able to re-open and run a live season, the outcome could be catastrophic for the industry.
Q: What kind of hurdles did you have to overcome to get live racing going again?
A: There were too many hurdles to mention, but suffice to say, in conjunction with V.P. Finance & Gaming, Sharon Gulyas, we had to secure a license to race, deal with sudden massive revenue reductions, assess and implement an internal labour strategy and communicate a transparent plan with all stakeholders which included our employees, the horse owners, trainers and jockeys and the government, media and our valued customers. Add to that the loss of our American horse trainers and about 80 per cent of our planned jockey colony trapped outside Canada and completely unavailable to us.
Q: Why do you suppose ASD was able to be first out of the gate in offering live racing in Canada?
A: Timing was somewhat on our side since our season had originally been slated to begin on Mother’s Day. We had the model of spectator-free racing at a few tracks in the U.S. so, with an extremely understanding provincial government and health officials, we were able to get underway spectator-free two weeks after Mother’s Day.
Q: What were the main positives that came out of having COVID around?
A: If there was anything good to come out of this, it was our ability to sell our racing signal around the world and our ability to open new online wagering accounts.
Q: What were the negatives?
A: Too many negatives to mention, but one of the worst was having to lay off 50 staff members in one day – Sharon and I will never forget that empty feeling – though it had to be done to protect the business.
Q: Your voice is on ASD radio commercials. Where did you record them?
A: They were recorded on my phone in my clothes closet with the script balanced on my ironing board – one of the strangest things I have ever done – but it was required to get the right sound and because I had no access to the Bell-Media studio.
Q: Describe ASD fan support during the pandemic
A: Epic, patient and understanding.
Q: What plans do you have going forward to make the best of a difficult situation?
A: Still to be determined, but the complete revision of our race schedule to Mon-Wed is strongly worth a revisit next year.
(Reprinted from At the Races column in the Canstar Community News)
While sipping their morning coffee, race fans in Australia were betting nightly races half a world away at the little track on the Canadian prairies where betting pools have hit historic highs. That was just one of seemingly endless firsts in Assiniboia Downs’ COVID-crazy race meet that just came to an end. Firsts are usually recorded in the winner’s circle; this year there seemed to be just as many firsts outside of it. Namely:
- Never has wagering reached such epic proportions. The total wagering for this season’s 50-day meet was $63.3 million, more than five times the $12.5 million wagered last year. That amounted to an average of $1.26 million a night. The previous high for a race meet was $53.4 million in 1981 but that was for a 135-day season.
- Never have Assiniboia races been so widely available to wager on — in Germany, England, Brazil, Mexico, the U.S. and Australia. When horses went to the post at 7:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday in Winnipeg, it was 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to Thursday in Sydney, Australia where racing is so important there’s a national holiday to celebrate it.
- Never have so many people watched and wagered on ASD races from home.
- Never have races been run with no spectators in the stands or on the tarmac.
- Never has CEO Darren Dunn made so many trophy presentations–in a mask, of course–representing prominent figures who might have made presentations were it not for the pandemic. There were 32 stakes races in all.
- Never have a trainer, Jerry Gourneau, and a jockey, Antonio Whitehall, so dominated a race meet. Gourneau logged 73 wins, almost double those of runner-up Tom Gardipy Jr. and Whitehall’s 74 wins was 26 more than Stanley Chadee Jr.
- Never has there been such a dearth of jockeys–because many were unable to travel from the Caribbean to Canada. An unusual spate of jockey injuries on the final race night meant two horses had to be scratched from the last race because of a lack of riders.
This list could go on. Suffice to say that racing fans were happy that whatever steps were necessary to keep racing going were taken.