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LACQ scraps billion-dollar Gateway Casino merger

New-York based Leisure Acquisition Corp. (LACQ) announced Thursday it was dropping its $1.1bn deal with Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd.

gateway

LACQ, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) announced plans in December to merge into a subsidiary of Gateway’s parent company Catalyst Capital Group Inc., a transaction that was initially set to close by April, helping the British Columbia-based gambling company exit its investment in Gateway.

The company had long sought to sell shares, initially filing for an IPO in November 2018, but withdrew its IPO registration last December to pursue the LACQ deal instead.

“It’s unfortunate the LACQ shareholder vote in March, at the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, negatively influenced their ability to complete a transaction that was favourable to all parties involved,” Catalyst said in an emailed statement. “Regardless, Gateway is an exceptional franchise and has been successful in building its business across Canada, creating long-term value for its various stakeholders.”

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, LACQ did not specify a reason for terminating the transaction and must find a new business to take over by 1 December or face having to return cash to shareholders.

SPACs have no business operations of their own, raising money from IPOs and using the proceeds, along with borrowed funds, to buy companies that are usually privately held and seeking an IPO.

Gateway has since re-opened select food and beverage outlets and reached return-to-operations agreements with unions. The company has over two dozen properties in British Colombia, Ontario and Alberta.


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