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Why Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.'s Shares Jumped 21% Last Month

By Travis Hoium - Apr 5, 2016 at 10:00AM

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An acquisition and a potential upgrade by rating agencies had investors excited about this gaming stock.

Image source: Pinnacle Entertainment.

What: Shares of regional gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: PNK) climbed 21.4% in March, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after announcing an acquisition and getting good news from a credit rating agency.

So what: Late in the month, Pinnacle Entertainment agreed to pay $138 million for the operations of the Meadows Racetrack from Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI -1.88%). The price was just 6.4 times the company's $21.7 million EBITDA after rent expense. This is the same company that's in the process of buying Pinnacle Entertainment's real estate assets, which will be folded into the REIT.

What may be more significant in the long run is Moody's placing the company's debt on review for upgrade. This could help lower borrowing costs long term and create more shareholder value in the process.

Now what: It certainly appears that the U.S. gaming market overall is improving nicely along with the economy. And if the asset sale Pinnacle is planning to make to Gaming & Leisure Properties goes through as planned later this year, it could help improve its balance sheet and cash flow. I like where Pinnacle Entertainment is currently positioned and buying assets like the Meadows Racetrack at attractive prices will help drive shareholder value. March was good for the stock, but I think there's room to run higher as well.

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