This week, a group including billionaire Carl Icahn filed a petition with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission disclosing its plan to bid for the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City. The owners of the Tropicana have been under bankruptcy protection since May 2008. The Atlantic City casino was not technically covered by the bankruptcy filing, as its operations had already passed to the stewardship of a state-appointed trustee in December 2007, when the owners lost their New Jersey gaming license.
Although the Tropicana has been up for sale for some time, it hasn't attracted many bidders. In September 2008, the Cordish Company tentatively offered $700 million in cash and notes, or $575 million in an all-cash deal for the property. As the casino sector and overall economy continued to weaken, Cordish eventually chose not to close on the deal by the February 2009 deadline.
At this point, no one is speculating just how low the initial bid for the Tropicana will be or if other bidders will emerge. But Icahn, former owner of the Sands, has some motivation for seeing a deal close on the property; Icahn's group currently holds a $1.4 billion mortgage on the Tropicana. The Commission has reportedly given the trustee and Icahn's group until March 30th, 2009 to work out an agreement. The deadline for the Commission's approval of the potential agreement has been set for April 30th.