Eldorado acquiring Caesars Entertainment

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The lobby at the Caesars Palace Las Vegas.
The lobby at the Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

Eldorado Resorts has agreed to acquire Caesars Entertainment in a cash-and-stock deal worth approximately $17.3 billion, a figure that includes the assumption of Caesars' debt.

The move will combine two of the largest players in the gambling sector, bringing their reach to 60 domestic casinos and casino-resorts across 16 states. Eldorado said the combined company will retain the Caesars name, in an effort to "capitalize on the value of the iconic global brand and its legacy of leadership in the global gaming industry."

Under the proposed transaction, Eldorado shareholders would hold approximately 51% of the company, while Caesars shareholders would hold the remaining 49%. The deal's $17.3 billion price tag includes $7.2 billion in cash, as well as roughly 77 million Eldorado common shares and the assumption of Caesars' outstanding net debt. In its first-quarter results, Caesars reported long-term debt of about $8.8 billion. 

The merged Caesars will be helmed by Eldorado's executive leadership team, including chairman Gary Carano and CEO Tom Reeg. The company will be headquartered in Reno, Nevada.

Concurrent with the takeover, Eldorado has entered into an agreement to offload the real estate associated with Caesars Entertainment's Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, Harrah's Laughlin Hotel & Casino and Harrah's New Orleans Hotel & Casino to Vici Properties for approximately $1.8 billion. Vici is a real estate investment trust formed in 2017 as a spin-off from Caesars Entertainment.

In a statement, Reeg said, "Together, [Eldorado and Caesars] will have an extremely powerful suite of iconic gaming and entertainment brands, as well as valuable strategic alliances with industry leaders in sports betting and online gaming. The combined entity will serve customers in essentially every major U.S. gaming market and will marry best-of-breed practices from both entities to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and significant shareholder returns."

Reeg added that Eldorado also plans to leverage and strengthen the Caesars Rewards loyalty program, which, when combined with Eldorado's platform, will total more than 65 million rewards members nationwide.

Eldorado currently owns and operates 26 properties in 12 states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and Ohio, though the group is markedly absent from Las Vegas. 

Caesars owns and operates 34 casinos and resorts in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada and New Jersey, with its resorts operating primarily under the Harrah's, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names. 

The company boasts a strong Las Vegas foothold via its Caesars Palace, Harrah's Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood and Bally's Las Vegas properties, among others. Earlier this year, Caesars unveiled plans for a nongaming resort brand, Caesars Republic. 

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