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Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Harrah's officially changes company name

23 November 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Harrah's Entertainment officially changed its name to Caesars Entertainment Corp. Tuesday, a move the company first considered more than two years ago.

The name Harrah's will remain as one of the company's primary casino brands, along with Caesars and Horseshoe. The company also operates the World Series of Poker and the Total Rewards player loyalty program.

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said the name change reflects the company's luxury brand. In addition to Caesars Palace on the Strip, the company operates Caesars-branded casinos in Atlantic City and Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

The company also placed the name Caesars on a golf course it acquired in Macau in 2007.

"This re-branding of the corporate name can open exciting new opportunities for us in the future," Loveman said. "The change reflects our evolution as the industry's leading provider of branded casino entertainment."

Harrah's acquired Caesars Entertainment in June 2005 in a $9 billion buyout, which at the time was the gaming industry's largest acquisition. The company announced plans for a name change to Caesars in April 2008, but never followed through.

The name change follows a switch earlier this year by MGM Resorts International, which dropped the title MGM Mirage in order to reflect its international hotel and casino holdings. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is also considering a name change.

The company, which was taken private in January 2008 in $29 billion private equity buyout, cancelled a planned $610 million stock sale last week that would have returned about 9 percent of Caesars to the public markets.

Analysts said the IPO was canceled because investors thought the price was too high and the company had too much debt. Caesars planned to use money from the IPO on two casino development projects in Ohio and to complete an unfinished 660-room hotel tower at Caesars Palace. Caesars also recently became involved in an effort to save a troubled casino project in Philadelphia.

In a filing last month with the SEC, Caesars said its two private-equity owners would retain their controlling interests in the company if the company goes public again.

Company revenues have fallen from a peak of $10.8 billion in 2007 to $8.9 billion last year, an 18 percent decline. In the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, Harrah's said its net loss shrank to $164.8 million from a loss of $1.62 billion a year earlier.

Caesars operates 10 Strip casinos, including Caesars Palace, Bally's, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort and Harrah's, along with the off-Strip Rio. The company is considered the world's largest casino operator with 53 properties in six countries.
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