(Reuters) – American casino operators Eldorado Resorts Inc and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are in the early stages of exploring a merger, telling people who are familiar with the issue on Sunday.
FILE PHOTO: The marking sign at the Caesars Palace Hotel is seen on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA February 16, 2011. REUTERS / Steve Marcus / File Photo
The deal comes after the emperors agreed this month to give billion investor Carl Icahn, who has pushed the company to sell itself, three board members to its representatives and a statement on the election of its next CEO.
Caesars provides some confidential financial information to Eldorado, which performs due diligence on the potential combination of the two companies, the sources said.
Eldorado has not yet made a binding offer to the emperors, and there is no certainty that any bid will materialize or that an agreement will be successfully negotiated, add the sources, and ask not to be identified because the case is confidential.
Caesars and Eldorado have market values of $ 5.4 billion and $ 3.6 billion, respectively. They also had $ 9.1 billion and $ 3.3 billion debt stocks, respectively, at the end of December.
Caesars refused to comment, while Eldorado did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The combination of Caesars and Eldorado would create a more formidable competitor for major casino industry players, such as Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd and MGM Resorts International.
"The Universe for Buyers (for Caesars) is limited, and Eldorado is best suited to extract full value from Caesar's assets in our opinion," wrote Roch Capital Partners analysts in a March 6 research note.
Caesars, whose casinos include Harrah's and the Horseshoe brands, arose from bankruptcy protection in 2017, after failing to cope with some $ 25 billion in debt. It had 53 homes in 14 US states and five countries outside the US, including the UK, at the end of December.
Eldorado owns and operates 26 properties in 12 US states.
Last year, the emperors rejected a merger method from Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire's owner of Golden Nugget casinos. This agreement would mainly have been structured as an acquisition of the emperors given its larger size. Fertitta has not sent any new offer to Caesars this year, according to the sources.
Caesars has also said it is exploring strategic options that can lead to some form of transaction.
Icahn has steadily increased its share in the emperors pending an agreement. Last week, he revealed that his stake had reached 17.8 percent, up from 9.8 percent when he managed his charter agreement with the company on March 1.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney