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LAS VEGAS-Investor Carl Icahn on Monday positioned himself as the stalking horse bidder for the upcoming Fontainebleau resort bankruptcy sale after repeatedly topping counteroffers by rival Penn National Gaming, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Icahn’s bid is reportedly for $155 million in cash and financing.

Icahn initially offered a $25-million premium to Penn National’s $102-million offer–$50 million in cash and a forgivable $51.5-million loan–last week that was matched by Penn National, according to the article, setting up today’s bidding war in court. Penn National reportedly went as high as $145 million before dropping out.

Details of the bid were not immediately available Monday afternoon; The official court documents were not available online for verification, and the attorneys involved were not immediately available for comment. For the full Las Vegas Sun article, click here.

Icahn controls the recently reorganized Tropicana Entertainment, which owns eight casinos in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana and Indiana, and is in the process of acquiring the Atlantic City Tropicana out of bankruptcy. In making the offer for Fontainebleau, Ichan may be looking to repeat the success he had in Vegas early last year. In February 2008,he sold American Casino and Entertainment Properties LLC to a Goldman Sachs real estate fund for $1.2 billion, netting Icahn Enterprises a gain he described as “in excess of $700 million.”

American Casinos’ portfolio included the Stratosphere casino at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip; Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, two off-Strip casino resorts in Las Vegas; and the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, NV. AREP acquired 51% of the Stratosphere in 2000 for $66 million and acquired the remainder in 2002 for $44.3 million. It acquired the Arizona Charlie’s properties in May 2004 for $126 million, and acquired the Flamingo Laughlin in May 2006 for $170 million before investing an additional $40 million turning it into Aquarius.

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