Beneficial Holdings, Inc. has abandoned its bid to acquire international gaming operator Thunderbird Resorts, after Thunderbird announced it had launched a public offering and private placement of up to 75 million shares of its common stock.
However, just one day after making public the cancellation of the deal, Beneficial announced it had contracted for the purchase of seven gaming locations in Nicaragua, from operator Inversiones Nacionales Capri. And the following day, the company said it is retaining three consultants to assist in locating live gaming opportunities in Argentina, Columbia and Peru.
Beneficial Holdings began its move into Central American gaming in early July, with the appointment of L. Carolina Navarro of Managua, Nicaragua, as president and COO. By mid July the company announced its first acquisition of an existing gaming property, in Nicaragua, by wholly owned subsidiary Grupo Beneficial.
At the time, Navarro said in a press release, “This is just the very beginning of our business plan. We are presently studying and pursuing additional negotiations in Central America with the ultimate goal of joining the ranks of casino companies such as Thunderbird Resorts, Princess Casinos International and Star City Casinos, which successfully operate in Managua.”
The Thunderbird deal would have given Beneficial an instant presence in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama, an increased offering in Nicaragua, plus properties in Peru, the Philippines and Poland.
In a press release, Beneficial said its original plan was to seek opportunities in Central America only. However, factors including “political turmoil” in Honduras and reductions in allowed operating hours and numbers of slots for casinos in Costa Rica had “played a role in expanding” the company’s focus.
Beneficial says they are already in discussion with an investor group that has a majority holding in a “multi-location gaming parlor network with assets in Argentina, Columbia and Peru.” Beneficial wants to obtain a 60 percent stake in the investment group’s assets.
The company wants to have over 750 machines operating by the end of Q1 2010. The seven newly acquired gaming venues in Nicaragua raised the number of gaming devices currently being operated by Beneficial to over 200.