It appears that billionaire Carl Icahn got his way. Caesars Entertainment is apparently going to be sold, and is now looking for a potential new owner, according to sources close to the company. There has yet to be an official announcement from the company, but the sale has been expected ever since Icahn began buying more and more of the company, ultimately becoming its largest single shareholder.
Icahn initially purchased around 9% of the company earlier this year. He continued finding other chunks to buy and now owns 28.5% of the company. He has said, even prior to taking his position in the company, that the only logical course of action for Caesars was for it to be sold, given that the company has not been able to fully recover since emerging from bankruptcy two years ago.
Since maneuvering into position, Icahn has appointed three members to the Caesars board and a fourth is expected to join in the next couple of days. These appointments, along with Icahn’s own tenacity, are ensuring that the company’s board agrees to the sale.
One of the top bidders is expected to be Tilman Fertitta, the owner of the Golden Nugget and the Houston Rockets. He had approached Caesars last year about a possible merger, but the company turned him down.
There has also been talk of Eldorado Resorts making a play for Caesars. The company, which manages 26 properties across the United States, had reportedly been given access to financial records from Caesars recently, fueling rumors that some type of deal was in the works.
No deal would happen overnight and Icahn is working hard to help Caesars clean up its act. He is putting pressure on the company to reduce corporate expenses, part of which will include a reduction in the corporate workforce. Vacant position are to be eliminated and certain employees at the Las Vegas headquarters are going to be laid off, reducing expenses by around $40 million.
Caesars has seen its share drop 15% over the past 12 months, but the stock has gained 36% since January. The newest sale rumors have helped, as well, allowing Caesars shares to jump 3% to around $9.33 Thursday.