MGM Resorts & Caesars Entertainment Discussing Potential Merger
US casino giants MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment are currently holding discussions about a potential merger according to unnamed sources but nothing has been officially confirmed from either of the two casino operators.
Law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and investment bank Morgan Stanley have reportedly been hired to help study the potential tie-up, which would result in a $20 billion behemoth. About 25 percent of Caesars is collectively owned by activist hedge funds which sources said are pushing for a merger with MGM Resorts. Among the hedge funds backing a deal between the two casino giants is Canyon Partners, which also owns shares in MGM. Other major Caesars stakeholders supporting a sale are Apollo Global Management and TPG Global.
HG Vora Capital Management which has close to a 5 percent stake in Caesars has also been reportedly persuading the casino giant to consider a complete sale. No offer is on the table yet as per the sources, but if the deal pushes through, about half of all hotel rooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City would be owned by MGM and Caesars.
This would likely spark concerns among regulatory bodies and competition authorities, given the implications of the giant tie-up. Caesars Entertainment is currently valued at $22 billion while MGM Resorts is estimated to be around $30 billion.
Caesars CEO Stepping Down
From February 2019, Caesars will run without a CEO, with Mark Frissora stepping down from his post after his three-year tenure at the helm. According to reports, Frissora was actually ousted from the company for taking a different stance in relation to the company’s current state. Frissora is reportedly opposing any plans to sell the company, while investors are giving the green light. Golden Nugget, a much smaller casino chain owned by businessman Tilman Fertitta, previously made a takeover offer which was rejected by Caesars.
Interest From Other Casino Operators
A number of casino operators could come forward with a potential offer to acquire Caesars. Among them is Wynn Resorts which has an enterprise value of $18 billion. Other interested parties could include Malaysia’s Genting Group which owns the ‘Resorts World’ brand and also private equity firms which currently hold a casino license such as The Blackstone Group. There are also reports that Caesars is also in talks with Jack Entertainment to buy the latter’s Ohio casinos, but tax issues may hinder the plan.