Caesars sale gains steam

Carl Icahn takes a larger position in the company; its owners take a smaller one

Last month, billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced that he had purchased 10% of the Caesars Entertainment empire. At the time, he had already been vocal about his position on the company’s future, asserting that the best course of action would be for the company to unload assets or merge with another entity. If Caesars executives have been opposed to the idea, they’re fighting a losing battle, as Icahn has now purchased more of the company and holds the largest singularly-held stake in the casino operator.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from last Friday, Icahn states that he now owns 15.53% of Caesars. In a separate announcement issued by Caesars last week, the company indicated that Icahn had been given three seats on the company’s board, letting go three of its 12 members in favor of Icahn-selected executives. These include Courtney Mather, James Nelson and Keith Cozza, the CEO of Icahn Enterprises.

The two companies that formed an alliance to help bring Caesars out of bankruptcy two years ago are also behind a potential sale. TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management have given up part of their stake, selling off 46.7 million shares in total. With their reduced position, and Icahn’s increased holdings, it is becoming glaringly obvious where the company is headed.

The owner of Golden Nugget Casinos, Tilman Fertitta, has already expressed interest in a Caesars-Golden Nugget merger. He contacted the company last year about a deal, but Caesars rejected the idea. With Icahn now controlling a significant part of the company, Fertitta’s offer may be looking more attractive to Icahn and shareholders.

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