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Trump Casinos Bailout Plan Is Off

September 24, 2004|From Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Donald J. Trump may have a new project for his apprentices -- helping him try to figure out how to take his troubled casino company private after a proposed bailout fell through.

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. and investment banker DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, which announced the bailout plan last month as part of a prepackaged Trump Hotels bankruptcy, said Wednesday they had ended talks "by mutual agreement."

In a prepared statement, the real estate tycoon, who stars in the "reality" TV show "The Apprentice," said the company was pursuing restructuring proposals with its bondholders and that it might "pursue a potential privatization of the company."

Neither Trump nor Trump Hotels executive Scott Butera returned phone calls.

DLJ, a private equity arm of Credit Suisse First Boston, declined to comment.

Trump has been searching for months for a way to save his casino company, which operates three casinos here and has $1.8 billion in debt.

The situation has come under particular scrutiny because of Trump's role as the ultimate businessman in "The Apprentice." Every week, he fires a contestant for poor work performance and pontificates on how to succeed. The last remaining contestant wins an executive job at his company.

One analyst said it was unlikely Trump could raise the money to take the firm private. Without a cash infusion, bankruptcy appears to be his only option, said casino analyst Jane Pedreira of Lehman Bros.

"He's in a tough spot right now," she said. "If he has to file, his name will be in the press for two years or however long it takes to get through bankruptcy."

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