Casino Boss Tilman Fertitta Reportedly Approaches Caesars with Merger Offer
Category : News
Another massive merger and acquisition deal within the US casino industry could be around the corner
A fresh round of industry buzz from Wednesday suggested that billionaire casino boss Tilman Fertitta has approached Caesars Entertainment Corp. about merging the Las Vegas casino giant with his own Golden Nugget casino group.
Sources told the CNBC on Wednesday that Mr. Fertitta was trying to lure Caesars with an offer for a reverse merger that will place Caesars as the acquirer. Company shareholders will remain shareholders in the combined business.
According to sources, it is still unclear whether the gaming and hospitality company will consider any offer from Mr. Fertitta given the fact that Caesars’ market capitalization currently stands at around $6.3 billion, while Mr. Fertitta’s net worth was valued at $4.5 billion by Forbes. Aside from Golden Nugget, his holdings also include the Houston Rockets National Basketball Association team as well as dining and entertainment company Landry’s.
Caesars emerged from a lengthy and challenging Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall and is looking to improve its profitability and to catch up with rivals MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts. The company has said that it would focus on acquisition and geographical expansion as part of its post-bankruptcy growth strategy.
The Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant recently closed the acquisition of Indiana-based privately owned gaming and horse racing company Centaur Holdings LLC for the total amount of $1.7 billion, which Caesars paid in cash. The deal will help the company expand its presence in Indiana, a key casino market.
”Fun is just getting started at Caesars”
Chad Beynon, a senior analyst at Macquarie, told the CNBC on Wednesday that the proposed merger of Caesars and Golden Nugget is part of a larger merger and acquisition trend within the US gaming industry. The analyst further explained that low valuations could be one of the main reasons why so many major casino companies are exploring M&A opportunities.
According to Mr. Beynon, as Caesars has just emerged from bankruptcy protection, “fun is just getting started” at the casino and hospitality giant. Following the recent acquisition of Centaur Holdings, the Las Vegas company is now reportedly considering a bid for Dan Gilbert’s Jack Entertainment LLC.
Reports emerged last month that hedge fund HG Vora Capital Management LLC had quietly built a nearly 5% stake in the gaming behemoth and has been pushing for the company to take consideration of different options, including divestiture of assets or an outright sale.
According to a recent round of reports, Caesars might be looking to divest itself of the off-Strip Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the annual host of the World Series of Poker. Rumors about the property’s sale have been popping out for years but a transaction has never occurred. It emerged a few years ago that PokerStars was interested in buying the Las Vegas casino. Those reports were even confirmed by the poker operator itself.
Caesars currently operates 49 properties in 13 US states as well as in Canada, the UK, Egypt, and South Africa. The company is set to launch two non-gaming resorts in Dubai next month and plans to break ground on a similar property in Mexico early next year. It also became known that Caesars is interested in joining an €8-billion mega-scheme for the construction of an integrated resort with a casino near the Greek capital Athens.
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