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Churchill Downs to buy Harlow's Casino Resort & Hotel in $138m deal

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Race track and casino owner Churchill Downs (Nasdaq:CHDN) has agreed to acquire Harlow's Casino Resort & Hotel in Greenville, Mississippi from a syndicate of private investors, in a $138 million all-cash deal.

Harlow's, which opened in November 2007, is currently owned by private investment groups Levine Leichtman Capital Partners and Oak Hill Advisors, as well as by private investor, Jess M. Ravich.

The acquisition of Harlow`s is part of Churchill`s plan to diversify across its racing, gaming and online business units. The purchase is also beneficial geographically, widening its presence, the company said.

The casino resort and hotel is located on approximately 69 acres of land adjacent to the Mississippi River, at the base of the new $336 million U.S. Highway 82 Bridge that opened in August this year.

It features a 33,000 square foot gaming floor with 841 slot machines, 23 table games and a poker room, a five-story, 105-room attached hotel, a 2,600-seat entertainment centre and three separate dining areas.

For the year ending July 31, 2010, Harlow`s recorded $50.4 million in revenue.

The transaction, which will be funded from available cash on hand and Churchill`s revolving credit facility, is expected to be accretive to the company`s reported earnings per share in the twelve months immediately following the closing of the deal, in the amount of $0.27 to $0.31 per share.

The deal is still subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the next three to six months.

Churchill Downs, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates four Thoroughbred racing facilities: Arlington Park in Illinois, Calder Casino and Race Course in Florida, Churchill Downs Race Track in Kentucky and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in Louisiana.  Its tracks are host to such races as the Arlington Million, the Kentucky Derby, the Louisiana Derby and the Princess Rooney.

It also operates slot and gaming operations in Louisiana and Florida and owns off-track betting facilities, TwinSpires.com and other advance-deposit wagering providers, United Tote, television production, telecommunications and racing service companies such as BRIS and a 50% interest in the national cable and satellite network, HorseRacing TV.

Quick facts: Churchill Downs

Price: 128.02 USD

NASDAQ:CHDN
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $5.05 billion
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