Magna Entertainment Corp. announces plan to sell Thistledown and Portland Meadows



    AURORA, ON, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Magna Entertainment Corp. ("MEC") (NASDAQ:  
MECA; TSX: MEC.A) today announced that, consistent with its previously
announced strategic review of assets and operations, it plans to sell two of
its racetrack operations: Thistledown, a thoroughbred racetrack located near
Cleveland, Ohio, and its interest in Portland Meadows, a thoroughbred
racetrack located in Portland, Oregon.
    Frank Stronach, MEC's Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer,
remarked, "Although MEC remains strongly committed to the racing industry, the
fact remains that Thistledown and Portland Meadows are confronted with very
difficult operational and regulatory challenges. Furthermore, MEC is very much
committed to continuing to sell assets and to strengthening its balance sheet.
This has led to MEC's decision to immediately pursue the sale of these
unprofitable racetracks."
    MEC acquired Thistledown in November 1999. Since acquiring Thistledown,
MEC has pursued alternative gaming initiatives for the racetrack but has been
unsuccessful to date. The most recent initiative was defeated in a state
referendum on November 7, 2006. For the year ended December 31, 2006,
Thistledown incurred a pre-tax loss of $4.5 million, which included
$3.1 million of costs related to the state referendum.
    MEC began operating Portland Meadows in July 2001. MEC also operates
14 off-track betting locations in Oregon related to its operation of Portland
Meadows. Last year, MEC obtained a ruling from the Oregon Racing Commission to
allow the installation and operation of Instant Racing machines at Portland
Meadows. In June 2007, this ruling was revoked at the request of the state's
attorney general. MEC was very disappointed with this result and plans to sell
its interest in Portland Meadows and related off-track betting locations. For
the year ended December 31, 2006, Portland Meadows incurred a pre-tax loss of
$0.1 million.
    MEC intends to work with the local horsemen groups and regulatory bodies
to pursue and execute an orderly sale of these properties.
    MEC expects to provide a further update, within the next two weeks, after
the completion of the strategic review by Greenbrook Capital Partners Inc. and
its presentation to the Board of Directors.

    MEC, North America's largest owner and operator of horse racetracks,
based on revenue, acquires, develops, owns and operates horse racetracks and
related pari-mutuel wagering operations, including off-track betting
facilities. MEC also develops, owns and operates casinos in conjunction with
its racetracks where permitted by law. MEC owns and operates AmTote
International, Inc., a provider of totalisator services to the pari-mutuel
industry, XpressBet(R), a national Internet and telephone account wagering
system, as well as MagnaBet(TM) internationally. Pursuant to joint ventures,
MEC has a fifty percent interest in HorseRacing TV(TM), a 24-hour horse racing
television network, and TrackNet Media Group LLC, a content management company
formed for distribution of the full breadth of MEC's horse racing content.

    This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of applicable securities legislation, including Section 27A of the
United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and
Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
(the "Exchange Act") and forward-looking information as defined in the
Securities Act (Ontario) (collectively referred to as forward-looking
statements). These forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe
harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and
the Securities Act (Ontario) and include, among others, statements regarding:
strategies and plans; expectations as to our potential ability to strengthen
our balance sheet; expectations as to financing and liquidity requirements and
arrangements; expectations as to operational improvements; expectations as to
cost savings, revenue growth and earnings; the time by which certain
redevelopment projects, transactions or other objectives will be achieved;
products and services; expectations as to the timing and receipt of government
approvals and regulatory changes in gaming and other racing laws and
regulations; expectations that claims, lawsuits, environmental costs,
commitments, contingent liabilities, labor negotiations or agreements, or
other matters will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated
financial position, operating results, prospects or liquidity; projections,
predictions, expectations, estimates, beliefs or forecasts as to our financial
and operating results and future economic performance; and other matters that
are not historical facts.
    Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future
performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of
whether or the times at or by which such performance or results will be
achieved. Undue reliance should not be placed on such statements.
Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time
and/or management's good faith assumptions and analyses made in light of our
perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future
developments, as well as other factors we believe are appropriate in the
circumstances and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and
other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond the Company's control,
that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from such
forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from our forward-looking statements include, but may not be limited
to, material adverse changes: in general economic conditions, the popularity
of racing and other gaming activities as recreational activities, the
regulatory environment affecting the horse racing and gaming industries, and
our ability to develop, execute or finance our strategies and plans within
expected timelines or budgets. In drawing conclusions set out in our
forward-looking statements above, we have assumed, among other things, that
there will not be any material adverse changes: in general economic
conditions, the popularity of horse racing and other gaming activities, the
regulatory environment, and our ability to develop, execute or finance our
strategies and plans as anticipated.
    Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statements were
made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect
actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting
forward-looking statements. If we update one or more forward-looking
statements, no inference should be drawn that we will make additional updates
with respect thereto or with respect to other forward-looking statements.





For further information:

For further information: Blake Tohana, Executive Vice-President and
Chief Financial Officer, Magna Entertainment Corp., (905) 726-7493

Organization Profile

MAGNA ENTERTAINMENT CORP.

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