The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

February 20, 2013

Centaur inks deal to buy Indiana Grand

INDIANAPOLIS — The ink is drying on a takeover agreement joining both of Indiana’s racinos under the same banner.

Indianapolis-based Centaur Holdings, LLC, which owns Anderson’s Hoosier Park, said Wednesday afternoon it had officially purchased Shelbyville’s bankrupt Indiana Grand and Downs for $500 million.

“We’re done; it’s over,” said Rod Ratcliff, Centaur’s chairman and CEO. “And we’re really excited. This is the result of a lot of time and effort from our (Centaur) team, legislators, both communities and a lot of other people.”

The final buyout, which brings the company’s total Hoosier payroll to about 2,000, came after over two years of clearing hurdles from national and state regulators.

A Delaware bankruptcy judge gave Centaur the go-ahead to buy Indiana Grand and Downs last year, but the sale was halted by a waiting period and review mandate under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976. That expired Jan. 29.

Late last year, Centaur also gained unanimous, conditional approval from both the Indiana Gaming and Horse Racing commissions, which issued their final approval Wednesday.

While the two parks will continue to operate under their respective names, Centaur’s president and chief operating officer Jim Brown said there are some changes coming down the track.

“There are some we’re pretty excited about,” he said. “Some are still too preliminary to say, but I think it’ll be really great for our customers.”

He said there would be a concert series, a summer celebration and additional capital projects to improve both facilities, which could include adding more games to both of the 2,000-slot casinos.

Trackside, Centaur said at the Horse Racing Commission’s December meeting in Indianapolis it would pursue adding 300 horse stalls to the tracks’ barns over two years. Centaur also said it would push its “one breed, one track” mantra, which would only allow racing one breed of horse at each facility.

That’s “in the best interest of racing and the state,” said IHRC chairman Bill Diener.

Running both is a hassle, Centaur said, and there’s a big price tag for converting the tracks back and forth for each breed. Centaur wants to run thoroughbred and quarter horses at Indiana Downs, leaving standardbreds for Hoosier Park.

The buy also means Centaur — which already owns and operates Hoosier Park, Hoosier Park’s Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille and OTB in Indianapolis, and off-track betting facilities in Clarksville, Fort Wayne and Merrillville — has reach in nearly every corner of Indiana.  

“We’re offering our customers a wide range of experiences,” Brown said. “This is just an extension of that.”

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook, @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter or call 648-4250.

 

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