The stake that Carl Icahn has at Caesars Entertainment has been upped by the investor, who has now become the largest shareholder at the Las Vegas casino operator. It seems that the sale of this company is now more likely than ever.
Carl Icahn has purchased shares of Caesars Entertainment Corp. through entities related to him for a total of $38.9 million. By doing so, the billionaire investor from New York has become the single largest shareholder of this casino company, which has seen some turbulent times recently.
Icahn said on Friday that he owns a total of 15.53% in company stock at the moment, which is more than 5% up from the 10% that he had managed to amass over a certain period. The 83-year old businessman is a direct response to the news from last week where Caesars officials announced giving Mr. Icahn board representation. Courtney Mather, James Nelson, and Keith Cozza, CEO of Icahn Enterprises, were all given seats at the Board of Directors at Caesars, replacing three now-former members.
On the other hand, a completely unrelated piece of news last week stated that two companies that were shareholders at Caesars sold a huge part of their shares for a total of 36.7 million. Apollog Global Management LLC and TPH Capital now have a total of 5.7% of the owner’s stock of the casino provider.
Both Apollo and TPG managed to acquire Caesars in 2008 during a leveraged buyout, which resulted in the company’s debt being more than $25 billion. Caesars officials saw no other option but to put the company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015. They eventually managed to emerge from bankruptcy two years after that and have been actively looking for investors who would further help the company.
Icahn Proposes Sale
Icahn has been actively suggesting that Caesars should sell itself or merge with another company as a possible solution to end the turbulent period of the company. This is now more likely to happen than ever since he has the largest stake in the company. Icahn even published an official statement where he announces the three new board directors for Caesars, where he said that the best path forward for the company required a strategic process to merge it with another company or sell it. Furthermore, Icahn stated that he was willing to help Caesars to further develop the strong regional presence that it already has.
The thing with Icahn is that he has a long history of pressing a lot of businesses to either sell or merge, so his behavior and relationship towards Caesars is not out of the blue. However, now that he has the largest stake in the company, it seems that he is about to succeed in his endeavor and that the company is likely to sell or merge anytime soon.
In fact, Caesars already received a couple of sound offers for selling and merging, with one of the most prominent offers coming from Tilman Fertitta, who approached the company with an offer to merge with his hospitality and casino brand Landry’s, which is the owner of Golden Nugget casino chains.
Although Caesars declined the offer, Fertitta has purchased shares in the company and is still interested in merging it with his business. In other words, it seems that if Icahn and Fertitta strike a deal, the merging of the company would become inevitable. At the moment, it is unknown what Mr. Icahn thinks about this offer. One thing is certain — Caesars has an exciting future ahead of it.