Parent company reaches agreement to buy Laurel, Pimlico before auction

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

To obtain Pimlico Race Course and the rest of Magna’s Maryland assets, MI Developments will pay out about $114 million, including $89 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Magna’s unsecured creditors committee.Maryland’s race tracks have again been yanked off the auction block — this time because their owner has reached an agreement to sell them to its parent company.

Ontario-based Magna Entertainment Corp. on Tuesday notified the six parties who were to bid on the properties, which include Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, that Thursday’s auction was canceled.

Magna parent MI Developments will pay $89 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Magna’s unsecured creditors committee. That money will be used to pay general unsecured claims against Magna.

MID also will pay about $13 million to cover secured claims of PNC Bank, about $6 million for holders of unsecured claims against the Maryland Jockey Club and $5 million to the former owners of Laurel Park and Pimlico.

Cordish, De Francis submit bids for Md. tracks

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer 

Baltimore developer David Cordish and former track owner Joseph De Francis are among a handful of bidders for Maryland’s two thoroughbred tracks up for auction next month.

Cordish confirmed in an e-mail Monday morning he had submitted a bid for Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course last week. The tracks are owned by the Magna Entertainment Corp., a Canadian company that declared bankruptcy in March.

Jonathan Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Cos., said Cordish’s bid does not include a plan to bring slots to Laurel Park. Cordish won a bid to build a slots casino near Arundel Mills, but the company’s plans are still subject to zoning approval by the Anne Arundel County Council. The council is schedule to take that vote on Dec. 21.

No ‘stalking horse’ bid for Md. tracks

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

Baltimore developer Carl Verstandig said he wasn’t surprised Magna couldn’t reach an agreement with a ‘stalking horse’ bidder.The bankrupt owner of Maryland’s thoroughbred race tracks is moving forward in its auction of the tracks without selecting a leading bidder, but interested buyers said that change is not a deterrent.

Magna Entertainment Corp. could not come to a purchase agreement late Wednesday with the bidder it had selected to make its “stalking horse bid,” an initial bid chosen by the company that competing groups can bid against.

Ontario-based Magna was scheduled to file a motion Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., announcing the stalking horse bidder for its Maryland properties — Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and Bowie Training Center — and had been in talks with a group that filed in the first round of bidding last week.

But a managing director of Miller Buckfire, the New York-based company handling Magna’s assets auction, said Thursday Magna could not reach an agreement they felt was “deserving” of a stalking horse bid.

“Just because someone puts forward a bid doesn’t mean we have to take it,” said Michael Wildish. “They pushed our limits, and they found them.”

Miller Buckfire will instead move on and wait for the second round of bids for the properties to arrive next month.

Magna’s top bidder selection delayed

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

The company that owns Maryland’s thoroughbred race tracks has selected the leading bid for the properties but is delaying the announcement of that bidder until Wednesday.

Magna Entertainment Corp., which declared bankruptcy in March, was scheduled to select a stalking horse bidder by 5 p.m. Monday. The Ontario-based firm instead filed a motion asking a bankruptcy court judge permission to extend the deadline the company set for itself to Wednesday.

A stalking horse bid is an initial bid chosen by the company that competing bidders can bid against.

Magna placed Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center on the auction block last month. The auction for the properties is scheduled for Jan. 8.

Verstandig partners up in bid for Md. tracks

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

The first round of bids for Maryland’s thoroughbred race tracks were submitted Monday, including a proposal from a group made up of race track operators and a local developer.

Bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp., which put its Maryland properties back on the auction block last month, will announce its “stalking horse” bid, or an initial offer that competitors can bid against, on Nov. 9. Miller Buckfire, the New York firm handling Ontario-based Magna’s assets auction, is not releasing the number of bids entered by Monday’s deadline nor the names of the preliminary bidders.

But Pikesville developer Carl Verstandig, who had expressed his interest in buying Maryland’s tracks in the past, said Monday he joined in a bid submitted by two out-of-state track operators. He would not reveal the names of the bidders but said they operated tracks and had gaming operations around the country and would likely be interested in bringing slots to Laurel Park if possible.