By Bill Finley
According to a June 15 report from Bloomberg.com, The Stronach Group (TSG) has fielded interest from special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and others and is exploring options for parts of its portfolio. The Bloomberg report cited “people with knowledge of the matter” as its source.
The Bloomberg report states that TSG is working with an outside advisor and has been approached by a number of parties, among them digital betting and media companies, that have expressed interest in aspects of the business. Bloomberg estimated the Stronach company portfolio is worth more than $1.5 billion.
What remains unknown is what assets might be on the market and which are not. The Stronach Group, which is based in Aurora, Ontario, owns five Thoroughbred racetracks: Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel and Pimlico. According to Wikipedia, its other assets include AmTote International, Bowie Racetrack, Palm Meadows, Xpressbet, The Village at Gulfstream, a racetrack in Austria and the harness track Rosecroft Raceway.
Though TSG may be looking only to sell some of its lesser assets, a potential sale of some others, namely Santa Anita and Gulfstream, could be a cause for concern for the racing industry. TSG has built a reputation as a pro-racing company and may view its assets differently than other companies, particularly casino or real estate companies.
In 2020 Stronach patriarch Frank Stronach and his daughter, Belinda, ended a battle for control of the company that had led to lawsuits. Under the agreement, Belinda got control of the Stronach Group's Thoroughbred racing and gaming businesses, while Frank and his wife, Elfriede Stronach, took over operation of the family's racing and breeding operations. As part of the deal, Frank Stronach relinquished any claims to the current assets that make up The Stronach Group.
TSG Chief Executive, Racing Operations Craig Fravel, sent the TDN the following email in response to a request for a comment.
“The Stronach Group and 1/ST remain committed to building a world-class entertainment and wagering company with Thoroughbred horse racing, racetrack venues and best-in-class guest experience at the core. Our mission is to be the most forward-thinking, innovative and successful sports-anchored, digital media and wagering content business in the world. Every business decision we make is to further that mission and support our racing infrastructure.”