Colony Adds New Executive, Makes $850M Play for Tropicana

Just a few days after bringing former Amgen executive Richard Nanula onboard as a principal, Los Angeles-based private investment firm Colony Capital L.L.C., according to reports by various New Jersey media outlets, has offered to acquire Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino & Resort for $850 million. The bid is one of many that have come to the fore within the last month. Nanula brings to the table six years of experience as a leader at Amgen, where he held the roles of executive vice president & CFO, and took the lead on financing, corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions activities. He has also held top positions at the Walt Disney Co. and served on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s board of directors. At Colony Capital, Nanula will play a large part in global corporate activities, with a focus on present and future transactions. As a senior player at Colony Capital, Nanula will certainly have a significant role in pursuing the acquisition of the Tropicana which, with Crestview Hills, Ky.-based owner Columbia Sussex Corp. having been denied the renewal of its license by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission on Dec. 12 of last year, is now in the market for a new owner. A conservator, former New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein, has been appointed to orchestrate the disposition of the Tropicana. The property was developed 27 years ago and currently encompasses over 2,100 guestrooms and approximately 140,000 square feet of gaming space.  In mid-December, a Tropicana spokesperson told CPN that shortly after the property’s license loss, a great deal of interest from prospective buyers had been expressed. As for confirmation of Colony Capital’s reported bid, or any other offers, Tropicana is keeping mum. However, while bidders continue to come to the fore, the sale of the casino is not necessarily a sure thing, as Tropicana is in the midst of appealing the Commission’s decision to refuse the renewal of its license. “We’re continuing with the appeal process and we’re waiting for court dates,” a Tropicana spokesperson told CPN today. “But the Commission can still execute the sale before the appeal is fully processed.” No word yet from Colony Capital on its reported pursuit of the Tropicana. A spokesperson for the company told CPN that it is not commenting on the issue at the present time.