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Caesars Entertainment set to announce new CEO

Wed, Apr 17, 9:42am by Staff Writer

Caesars Entertainment is set to announce the appointment of Anthony Rodio as its replacement of outgoing chief executive officer Mark Frissora.

Casino News Daily said that it believes the Las Vegas casino powerhouse is evaluated takeover interest after news emerged in recent weeks that at least two fellow gambling companies were interested in buying Caesars.

In an announcement expected this week, Caesars is to reveal that Mr Rodio will replace the company’s outgoing chief executive, who will take a seat on the board.

Mr Rodio is currently the chief executive officer of private gaming company Affinity Gaming.

Mr Frissora’s departure was first announced last year.

Caesars’ top executive, who steered the company through a complex bankruptcy of its main operating unit, was originally expected to step down in February, but it later on became clear that he would stay until mid April.

It can be said that Caesars might have bowed to pressure from its largest stockholder Carl Icahn with the naming of Mr Rodio as its new chief.

Reports emerged earlier this year that the New York based investor was lobbying the casino to pick Mr Rodio as a replacement.

Caesars considered sale

Sources also said that Caesars has formed a board committee that will be working with bankers at investment bank PJT Partners to assess takeover interest it has received.

The Las Vegas company has been courted by at least two suitors who want to buy more than 50 of its gambling and non gambling resorts in four continents.

Caesars last month granted access to financial data to fellow operator Eldorado Resorts, so they could conduct due diligence in relation to the potential acquisition of its larger counterpart.

The owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain, Tilman Fertitta, has also approached Caesars with an offer for a potential tie up, if sources are to be believed.

Mr Fertitta made a bid to buy the casino empire and merge it with his own gaming business last year, but the move was rejected by Caesars.

The latest wave of reports from inside of the Las Vegas’ gambling powerhouses shows that it might have succumbed to pressure from its largest shareholder to consider selling itself.

Mr Icahn announced he was building a stake in Caesars earlier this year, revealing that he owned 10 per cent of company shares at the time.

The businessman has amassed a 28.5 per cent stake and secured board representation since.

Finances in flux at Caesars

He has been pressing Caesars to sell itself or merge with another company, believing it is the best path forward for the company, which emerged from a bankruptcy in the fall of 2017, but is still coping with $18 billion in long-term debt.

As of December 31, 2018, Caesars’ balance sheet reflected $8.8 billion of debt and $1.5 billion of cash.

The company’s revenue jumped 72.4 per cent to $8.39 billion in 2018, boosted primarily by acquisitions.

Losses in its international segment mounted to $68 million from $18 million a year prior as it saw lower winnings from games and rising expenses.

Caesars emerged from bankruptcy in October 2017 after its involvement with a private equity firm left it with $24 billion of debt in 2015.

The new Caesars Entertainment started operations with less debt and more cash flow, and was restructured into a real estate investment trust.

Caesars opened its first non-gaming property in Dubai at the weekend, consisting of two hotels, a Caesars Palace and Caesars Resorts, that will sit on the new man made island Bluewaters.

The celebratory opening included chef Gordon Ramsay, with guests treated to a fireworks show and live regional entertainment.

The property features nearly 500 rooms, 11 restaurants and a beach club.

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