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LAS VEGAS-Boyd Gaming Corp. says it will sell the Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino to Harrah’s in exchange for 24 contiguous acres next to its 63-acre Eschelon Place development site. Harrah’s has the acreage under contract to acquire from third parties, according to Boyd.

The transaction will give Boyd 87 contiguous acres on the Las Vegas Strip and the ability to develop future phases of its multibillion-dollar Eschelon Place project, which is replacing the Stardust Casino. The addition of Barbary Coast will give Harrah’s control some 350 acres on the Strip.

Boyd says its transaction would be an IRS 1031 exchange. It expects to recognize a non-cash gain of approximately $280 million in the quarter in which the transaction closes. The estimated closing quarter is the first quarter of 2007. Boyd plans to report results from Barbary Coast as discontinued operations beginning in the third quarter.

Boyd’s Eschelon Place development is expected to be complete in 2010. Boyd Gaming CEO Bill Boyd says the additional contiguous acreage extends the company’s strategic growth pipeline “well into the next decade.”

Harrah’s also acknowledged this morning that private equity firms Apollo Management and Texas Pacific have offered to buy all of the company’s outstanding shares for $81 apiece. The offer translates to about $15.05 billion. To see that story, click here.

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