Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the real property assets of Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland, in Hanover; Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia and Live! Casino Pittsburgh, including applicable long-term ground leases, from affiliates of The Baltimore-based Cordish Companies.

The initial transaction has an aggregate consideration of approximately $1.81 billion. Cordish will immediately lease back all the properties, and continue uninterrupted to own, control and manage all the gaming operations of the facilities. The transaction for the three properties includes not only the existing real estate assets, but also a binding partnership on future Cordish casino developments, as well as potential financing partnerships between GLPI and Cordish in other areas of Cordish’s portfolio of real estate and operating businesses.

Consideration for the three-property real estate transactions will be comprised of a mix of qualified debt assumption (to be satisfied by GLPI), cash, and $323 million of newly-issued operating partnership units, or OP units, in GLPI’s operating partnership, economically aligning both groups for future collaboration and partnership.

Simultaneous with the closing of these transactions, GLPI will enter into a new triple-net master lease with Cordish for Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, and Live! Casino Pittsburgh, as well a single asset lease for Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland. The master lease and single asset lease will have an initial term of 39 years, with a maximum term of 60 years inclusive of tenant renewal options.

The initial annual cash rent for all three properties will be $125 million, with a 1.75 percent fixed yearly escalator on the entirety of the rent commencing upon the leases’ second anniversary, representing an implied capitalization rate of 6.9 percent. The rent coverage ratio in 2022 is expected to approximate two times for the master lease and 2.7 times for the single asset lease.

Peter Carlino, Chairman and CEO of GLPI, commented, “We are excited to establish a relationship with The Cordish Companies, one of the country’s preeminent developers of large-scale experiential real estate projects, casinos, hospitality and entertainment districts. We have long admired Cordish for their creation of the highly successful ‘Live!’ brand across these entertainment, gaming and hospitality districts. A crucial aspect of our transaction was Cordish’s continued commitment to operating with the same team, approach, and standard of excellence that has brought their casinos so much success. These new leases are expected to have strong rent coverage at an accretive cap rate while further expanding and diversifying our portfolio and marking a continuation of our strategy to build an industry-leading, high-quality tenant roster. In addition to the real estate transaction for the three properties, we are excited to partner with Cordish on a range of future strategic opportunities that can leverage the financial and real estate development strengths and resources of both companies. The OP unit portion of the transaction consideration aligns our interests with the goal of building new value for our constituents.”

David Cordish, Chairman of The Cordish Companies, commented, “We have long admired GLPI’s pioneering structure and accomplishments as a public platform. Cordish is delighted to be partnering with GLPI on this range of transactions, which aligns two recognized leaders in their respective industries. Live! is an iconic brand, and our commitment to our customers, team members and local communities as top priorities will continue unabated. We look forward to [continuing] delivering quality entertainment experiences in the markets we serve now, and collaborating and partnering with GLPI on opportunities to grow the Live! brand in the future.  Our election to receive a significant portion of our consideration in GLPI OP units stands testament to our recognition of GLPI’s significant underlying value and quality as a company, and the synergies we see between the two companies.”

The Maryland transaction is expected to close by 2021 year-end. In addition to the real estate transaction for the three properties, and the potential for collaboration at existing or future non-gaming properties, GLPI and Cordish have agreed to collaborate on a range of future real estate and development opportunities, including:

  • Casino Development Equity Co-Investment Partnership: For a period of seven years following the closing of the transaction for the Pennsylvania properties, GLPI will co-invest with Cordish on any new gaming development project, excluding those involving currently-owned Cordish properties or existing gaming licensed facilities. GLPI will invest in 20% of Cordish’s portion of the equity in the project throughout the life of the project.
  • Right Of First Refusal: For a period of five years following the closing of the transaction for the Pennsylvania properties, GLPI will have a right of first offer and right of first refusal on any sale-leaseback (or similar) transaction which Cordish pursues, in whole or in part, related to a specifically identified Cordish Live! Entertainment District property.