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Boyd acquires Aliante Casino

Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. recently entered into an agreement to acquire ALST Casino Holdco LLC — the holding company for the Aliante — in an all-cash deal for $380 million.

“Aliante is an asset without rival in the North Las Vegas market, strategically positioned to benefit from substantial future growth across the northern part of the Las Vegas Valley,” said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, in a statement.

The 200-room Aliante was launched in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession as a joint venture between Station Casinos and Greenspun Corp. Like many businesses during that time, Aliante struggled and defaulted on many of its credit obligations.

The $660 million venture ended up in the hands of its lenders, who were owed more than $375 million, after Aliante’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case was settled in 2012.

Today, things could be shaping up for the region and for Aliante’s restaurant and gaming offerings.

Smith said Aliante has a “compelling” long-term potential with North Las Vegas’ expanding residential and industrial projects.

One of those projects, Faraday Future’s electric car manufacturing plant, broke ground in April. The $1 billion project is expected to bring 4,500 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs to the region.

The deal is Boyd’s first in North Las Vegas and its 10th in the Southern Nevada market. It also has holdings in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey.

Golden Entertainment expands to Montana

Golden Entertainment has expanded its Western holdings after entering into an agreement in April to acquire the assets of one of Montana’s largest distributed gaming operators.

Golden Entertainment, Nevada’s largest slot route operator, is stacking up to be No. 2 in Montana with its recent acquisition of Billings-based Amusement Services LLC for $25 million. Golden Entertainment acquired other brands in the same region in January when it purchased C. Lohman Games Inc., Rocky Mountain Gaming Inc. and Brandy’s Shoreliner Restaurant Inc. in a $20 million deal.

The gaming company is set to operate nearly 3,000 slot machines in Montana, picking up more than 1,800 in the recent deal.

“Montana is an attractive distributed gaming market, and with an enhanced footprint in the region, we are well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity,” said Blake Sartini, CEO of Golden Entertainment.

Golden’s total footprint reaches more than 12,000 gaming devices, which also makes the company the largest distributed gaming operator in the U.S. Along with Nevada and Montana, it also has holdings in Maryland.

In Nevada, Golden operates PT’s, Sierra Gold and Sean Patrick’s tavern franchises. It also holds three casinos in Pahrump.

Grimaldi’s Pizza offering overseas franchising

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is offering a chance to own a piece of its famed brand with its recent move to open international franchising opportunities.

“For years we have been approached by groups interested in owning a slice of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria,” said Joe Ciolli, CEO of the company. “After diligently working on enriching our brand, we finally feel ready to increase our global footprint and expand overseas.”

Ciolli is expecting the first stores to open as early as next year, as there has been heavy interest in the brand’s offering already.

This is the company’s first franchise offering. Domestically, the brand owns 45 locations across 11 states including Las Vegas, Memphis, Tennessee; Flagstaff, Arizona; Mobile, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; and Houston planned to come online by the end of 2016.

The company found its roots in the New York City area more than two decades ago. It relocated its headquarters to Arizona in the late 2000s. The brand has received several high recognitions, including an International Five Star Diamond Award in 2015.

Applications are now being accepted for its international opportunities. But there is a vetting process.

Its preferred candidates will have an interest and passion for food and restaurant operations, along with knowledge of how to do business in the region being targeted.

Grimaldi’s also is seeking financially strong partners in its competitive offering, with a commitment to an aggressive store development schedule. The company prefers a 10-store minimum out of each potential franchisee.

Potential candidates should fill out the application on Grimaldi’s website and expect to go through an initial interview process. From there, other steps include creating a business plan and completing a company training program.

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