(Adds details from court filing and background)
By Tom Hals
Sept 10 (Reuters) - Atlantic City’s Revel casino-hotel, which closed earlier this month after filing for bankruptcy, reached a deal to sell itself to a Florida developer for $90 million in cash, a fraction of the billions of dollars it cost to build.
In court documents, Polo North Country Club Inc and its president, Glenn Straub, agreed to buy the hotel and deposited $10 million into escrow.
With 1,800 hotel rooms, theaters, nightclubs and 14 restaurants, Revel cost $2.4 billion to build when it opened in 2012.
But the city’s first new casino since 2003 was besieged by setbacks even before it opened and filed its first of two bankruptcies in March 2013.
Its current bankruptcy began in June with a plan to hold a quick sale of the company to raise money to repay creditors.
But Revel was unable to find a qualified bidder until Wednesday.
Straub’s bid will now be put to an auction, which may produce a better deal. The company proposed holding the auction on Sept. 24 at the New York offices of its law firm, White & Case.
Revel asked court permission to pay Straub a $3 million break-up fee for acting as a “stalking horse” or initial bidder. Revel said Straub’s bid was not contingent on financing, due diligence or licensing approval provisions.
The company also asked that the sale be exempt from New Jersey transfer taxes, according to court documents.
Revel was part of a push by New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie to bring Las Vegas-style gambling resorts to Atlantic City. He provided a $261 million tax package to help finish the construction of the complex, which is the second-tallest building in the state.
However, by the time it eventually opened, neighboring states had approved slot machines and table games, cutting into Atlantic City’s core market.
The Revel was the third Atlantic City casino to close this year, and Trump Plaza is slated to close next week. The Plaza’s owner, Trump Entertainment Resorts, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday and said it could close its other Atlantic City casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, in November.
Atlantic City started the year with 12 casinos. (Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; additional reporting by Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)