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Merrill Keeps Buy on Penn National

Merill Lynch maintains its buy rating on Penn National Gaming (PENN).

Penn National agreed to acquire Argosy Gaming (AGY) in a cash deal valued at $2.2 billion. Analyst David Anders believes there are three strategic drivers to the transaction: diversification, property expansion opportunities, potentially lower borrowing costs.

He says the announcement permits Penn National to enter into three new jurisdictions: Lawrenceburg, Ind., Kansas City, Mo., and Sioux City, Iowa. Anders notes the combination would create one of the largest gaming operators in the U.S., with annual revenues of over $2 billion, over 700,000 square feet of gaming space, and 20,000 gaming devices.

He keeps the $47 target, which could be conservative.

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