One of the biggest stock movers Monday was Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment whose stock rose 18.1 percent to close at $20 per share on news it had signed an $850 million agreement to acquire four Nevada casinos.

Minnesota investors are familiar with the company as Lakes Entertainment the Plymouth-based company that itself was a successor to the Indian gaming business of Grand Casinos Inc., which built and operated Grand Casino Hinkley.

Lyle Berman founded Grand Casinos in the early 1990s to build and manage Indian-owned casinos. The company gradually morphed over the years to become owner operators of casinos, mostly outside of Las Vegas. But this new deal gives them their biggest presence yet in the gambling capital of the U.S.

In January 2015 Lakes announced that it was acquiring Las Vegas-based Golden Gaming and that it would change its name to Golden Entertainment. The company moved its headquarters from Plymouth to Las Vegas after the deal concluded that summer and Golden Gaming CEO Blake Sartini succeeded Berman as chairman and CEO of the combined company.

The 75-year old Berman is still a director of Golden Entertainment and is the company’s second largest shareholder with more than 2 million shares or 9.1 percent of the outstanding stock.

Lyle Berman in 2007 photo taken by the Star Tribune.

Lyle Berman in 2007 photo taken by the Star Tribune.

In the deal announced Monday Golden Gaming will acquire American Casino & Entertainment Properties which has three locations in Las Vegas and one in Laughlin, Nevada. The Las Vegas casinos included the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder. The fourth location is the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, Nev.

“This is a transformational event for our Company, creating a significant gaming portfolio centered around Nevada-based casinos,” Sartini said in a release.

According to the release Golden Entertainment will operate, 15,800 slot machines, 114 table games, and more than 5,100 hotel rooms at eight casino properties after the deal concludes.

Last year Golden Entertainment had $403 million in annual revenue and earned $16.3 million. Combined the two companies, Golden Entertainment and American Casino, will have annual net revenue of $847 million and $180 million in EBITDA.

Berman’s 9 percent stake in Golden Entertainment would be worthy approximately $40 million.

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