Golden Gate Fields Owner Delisted by Stock Exchanges

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday March 11, 2009 - 07:20:00 PM

Golden Gate Fields is up for sale as owner Magna Entertainment (MECA on the NASDAQ stock exchange), a move announced when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Mar. 5. 

The Albany track is the last horse racing venue on San Francisco Bay. 

Magna has also filed for bankruptcy reorganization in Canada. 

A second blow to financially troubled Magna followed Monday, when the NASDAQ Stock Market, the nation’s leading electronically based stock exchange, announced it would be striking the company from its listings.  

That action follows a similar move announced a week earlier by the Toronto Stock Exchange, which also delisted Magna effective at the end of March. NASDAQ’s order takes effect Mar. 16, while the Canadian delisting begins Apr. 1. 

Golden Gate Fields is one of three tracks, a betting wire service and other assets that the company is offering for $195 million, with a $44 million down payment required. 

The other tracks are Gulfstream Park in Florida and Lone Star Park in Texas, according the announcement issued from the company’s Canadian headquarters in Aurora, Ontario. 

Operations at the tracks will continue while the company looks for a buyer, Magna announced in a public statement at the time of the bankruptcy filing. 

In its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., Magna listed $1.05 billion in assets, along with $989 million in debts. 

Two of the company’s three independent board members overseeing corporate finances have resigned in recent weeks, with the Canadian delisting announcement following closely on the heels of the second resignation. 

In announcing the bankruptcy filing, Canadian auto parts magnate Frank Stronach said the company “has far too much debt and interest expense” and has been pursuing “numerous out-of-court restructuring alternatives but has been unable to create a comprehensive restructuring to date, due, in part, to the current economic recession, severe downturn in the U.S. real estate market and global credit crisis.”  

Magna shares had dropped to an all-time low of a nickel earlier this week, but had risen to eight cents a share by Wednesday afternoon—down from the all-time high of $198 seven years ago. 

To add insult to injury, the Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that the Pepsi Bottling Group has demanded that Magna return $45,485.92 in products sold to the ailing company between Jan. 20 and Feb. 27. 

Magna has also cut 11 days of racing at its most famous track, Pimlico in Maryland, home of the Preakness Stakes, one of horse racing’s famed Triple Crowns. 

The reduction brings the Pimlico calendar to a mere 20 days of racing.