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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Caesars Entertainment stock on sale Tuesday

7 February 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- For the first time in four years, Caesars Entertainment Corp. will be a publicly traded company.

Roughly 1.8 million shares of the Las Vegas-based casino operator were expected to be listed sometime this morning on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, with the initial asking price of $8 to $10 per share. The company's stock ticker will be CZR.

The stock sale could be worth between $16 million and $18 million for the company.

Analysts said the small stock offering is being done to establish a market for Caesars stock and future financing by the company. According to the share sales prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Caesars registered to sell as much $500 million in shares following the IPO.

The offering also allows hedge fund Paulson & Co., which is run by New York billionaire John Paulson, a chance to sell shares in Caesars. Paulson owns 9.9 percent of Caesars and has the right to sell 12.4 million shares.

Apollo Management Group and TPG, the private equity firms that took Caesars -- then known as Harrah's Entertainment -- private in a $29 billion buyout in January 2008, aren't selling shares in the current offering and aren't among the funds that have registered for additional sales.

Apollo and TPG will own about 70 percent of Caesars common stock after the IPO, the filing shows.

Caesars has about $19.6 billion in debt and interest expenses of about $1.5 billion.

A year ago, Caesars planned to raise as much as $532 million before it pulled its IPO, citing market conditions.

The company operates 10 resorts on or near the Strip including Caesars Palace, Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel, Flamingo Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

The company was formed in June 2005 when Harrah's, then a publicly traded company, acquired Caesars Corp. in a $9 billion buyout.

Caesars is one of the few casino operators expanding as the gaming industry recovers from the recession.

The company, which has 52 casinos in 12 U.S. states and seven countries, is building casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland through a joint venture with an Ohio company.

In Las Vegas, Caesars is proceeding with Project Linq, a $550 million nongaming retail, dining and entertainment development on the Strip, anchored by a 550-foot London Eye-style observation wheel.

Caesars officials said they already have raised the money to build Project Linq.
Caesars Entertainment stock on sale Tuesday is republished from