Revel seeks to switch buyers for ex-casino

AP News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2014 10:21 AM

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A bankruptcy judge will consider a shuttered New Jersey casino's request to scrap a deal to sell itself to a Canadian firm, and instead let the runner-up buy it.

Revel Entertainment filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court late Tuesday night seeking approval to terminate the agreement with Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and approve Polo North Country Club as the new buyer. On Wednesday, Judge Gloria Burns scheduled a hearing on the request for Friday morning.

Brookfield announced last month it was walking away from its $110 million purchase of Revel due to a dispute with bondholders over debt from a costly power plant. Florida developer Glenn Straub's Polo North was the runner-up in the auction, with a bid of $95 million.

Spokesmen for Brookfield, Straub and Revel all declined comment Wednesday.

The court filing asks the bankruptcy court to cancel the sale to Brookfield and schedule a hearing on Friday to approve a sale to Straub, who has proposed several uses for the former casino resort. One of them was a so-called "genius academy" at which the world's best minds would look for solutions to society's problems.

Straub was the first bidder to put a deposit on Revel, being selected as a "stalking horse" bidder whose initial $90 million bid set the floor for the auction.

On Nov. 29, Revel notified Brookfield it had the right to terminate the sale agreement, and Tuesday, it delivered a termination notice to Brookfield, effective Friday.

The $2.4 billion Revel opened in April 2012 with high hopes of helping turn around Atlantic City's struggling casino market. But it never turned a profit, filed for bankruptcy twice and closed Sept. 2.

It was one of four Atlantic City casinos to shut down this year amid growing competition in the saturated northeastern U.S. casino market. A fifth, the Trump Tal Mahal, is scheduled to close Dec. 20 unless a last-minute deal is reached to save it.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC