Icahn takes over Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates Taj Mahal

Joshua Burd//February 29, 2016//

Icahn takes over Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates Taj Mahal

Joshua Burd//February 29, 2016//

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The embattled operator of Trump Taj Mahal has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, with billionaire investor Carl Icahn assuming full control of the Atlantic City casino company.In a news release Monday, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. said it has completed its reorganization and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises LP. The move comes after a tumultuous stretch of nearly two years for the ownership group, stemming from its tumbling gaming revenue and clashes with its casino workers union over concessions it needed to keep the property afloat.

“The Taj is one of Atlantic City’s signature properties,” Icahn said in a prepared statement. “Although both Atlantic City and the Taj have had a few tough years, today marks the beginning of the turnaround.”

Meantime, the Associated Press reported that emerging from bankruptcy means the Trump Taj Mahal has cut ties with billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump, who had held a 10 percent ownership stake in the company in exchange for the use of his name. The casino will continue to bear his name, the AP reported.

The operator, which also owns the now-shuttered Trump Plaza, filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2014 after being unable to come to a new collective bargaining agreement with UNITE Here Local 54. Trump Entertainment had sought to scale back its workers’ health and pension benefits amid the casino’s struggles, but the stalemate led to more than a year in bankruptcy court and litigation that was resolved in January in the operator’s favor.

During those proceedings, the casino had teetered on becoming the fifth Atlantic City casino to close in recent years. The 2,000-room property ranked seventh in gaming revenue among the resort’s eight gaming halls in 2015 and has struggled to stop the bleeding.

“The company and its employees are excited to have weathered through these tough times and look forward to the return of Trump Taj Mahal to its prominent position in the Atlantic City market,” Mike Mellon, Trump Entertainment Resorts’ chief gaming executive, said in a prepared statement.

Icahn, who had been the first lien-holder for the property, has talked about investing $100 million to reinvigorate the struggling gaming hall. He also owns Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino and said he hopes to follow a similar model.

“Just a few years ago, Tropicana was in bankruptcy and its fate uncertain, but since emerging in 2010, we have turned that property around and it has become one of Atlantic City’s few success stories,” Icahn said. “I am confident we can and will do the same for the Taj.”