by | 11.17.2010 | 12:46am

By Ray Paulick

Technology entrepreneur Halsey Minor has gone public with a letter sent to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of MI Developments (MIM) asking the board to consider his proposal to acquire outstanding loans made by MI Developments to the financially beleaguered racetrack company Magna Entertainment (MECA). 

Click here to read the letter.

Both MI Developments and Magna Entertainment are controlled by Frank Stronach, though Stronach owns just 2% of MI Developments.Both companies are offshoots of auto parts giant Magna International (
MGA), whose stock price has declined by 67% over the last year.

On Thursday, Magna Entertainment received another extension on more than $250 million in outstanding loans, all but $40 million from MI Developments. The new agreement on a bridge loan from MI Developments added $15 million to the amount Magna Entertainment could borrow.

Minor, the founder of CNET and several other technology firms, said his proposal was made several weeks ago but that he has yet to receive a response from the Special Committee, necessitating the need to make the offer public so it could receive full consideration from shareholders of MI Developments.

“While it is unfortunate that we have to take the unnecessary step of making our proposal public,” Minor said, “we believe that MI Developments' shareholders deserve to know about the opportunity to relieve the company of what has become an increasingly burdensome debt obligation. Magna Entertainment owns some of the world's premier racetracks, but many of them have fallen into disrepair and are in desperate need of capital to both improve the facilities and attract fans back to the industry. I have long had a passion for the horse racing industry, and believe strongly that this storied, exciting sport can be revitalized. I want to help rebuild this industry, and initiating discussions with MI Developments to explore ways we can solve Magna Entertainment's liquidity problem and help provide a better strategic direction to these under-capitalized properties is a winning proposition for MI Developments and the horse racing industry overall. I look forward to a response from MI Developments' Special Committee.”

Minor, who also has made a bid to buy Hialeah Park in South Florida from John Brunetti, told the Paulick Report he is very concerned over the affect a potential bankruptcy by Magna Entertainment could have on the horse racing industry. “The goal would be to take control of the Magna tracks away from MI Developments and begin the process of rebuilding much of what has been harmed over the previous five years,” he said. “Magna Entertainment, as a company, clearly has little chance of survival. The idea is to prevent a bankruptcy which would be disastrous for the industry and to begin to rebuild the company. The goal, first and foremost, is to stop the uncontrolled bankruptcy, which is almost inevitable. You can't lose $120 million a year in this environment and continue.

“Frank Stronach only owns 2% of MI Development but has been using that company to prop up Magna Entertainment, which has basically been a bankrupt company for three years. It only exists because MI Developments continues to put money into a company whose losses are in excess of $100 million a year.

“We have made a proposal, but the Special Committee of MI Developments hasn't allowed us to have any access to any of the information, which is really crazy. They are depriving their shareholders of even knowing what our final offer will be. This will let the hedge funds who own the stock realize the company has been offered the opportunity to exit the Magna Entertainment funding business and so far has declined to even talk.”

Members of the Special Committee are Jerry D. Campbell (Chairman), Anthony J. Campbell and William J. Menear.

Copyright © 2008, The Paulick Report

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