Eldorado Resorts is buying Caesars Entertainment in a substantial cash-and-stock deal valued at $17.3 billion, the companies announced Monday, creating the largest gambling operator in the U.S.
The combined company will retain the Caesars name, operating 60 casino-resorts across 16 states. Caesars Entertainment Corp., with more than 30 casinos in the U.S., emerged from bankruptcy protection in late 2017. Eldorado’s portfolio will now include Caesars Palace, Harrah's, and Bally's, joining its own 26 gambling properties in the U.S.
The company will be led by Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg and Chairman Gary Carano. It will be headquartered in Reno, Nevada, though it will retain a significant corporate presence in Las Vegas.
The combined company’s Board of Directors will consist of 11 members, six of whom will come from Eldorado’s Board of Directors and five of whom will come from Caesars Board of Directors.
Reeg told analysts and investors the company expects to sell some properties that may allow it to avoid federal anti-trust issues. It is also evaluating whether to sell properties on the Strip.
“Together, we will have an extremely powerful suite of iconic gaming and entertainment brands, as well as valuable strategic alliances with industry leaders in sports betting and online gaming,” Reeg said in a statement. “The combined entity will serve customers in essentially every major U.S. gaming market.”
The deal is targeted to close in the first half of 2020, if approved by gambling regulators and shareholders. Eldorado will part with $7.2 billion in cash and about 77 million stock shares. Eldorado will pick up about $8.8 billion of the casino’s debt.
Eldorado said it also entered into an agreement with VICI Properties, Inc., to strengthen the combined company’s balance sheet. VICI will acquire the real estate associated with Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, Harrah's Laughlin Hotel & Casino, and Harrah's New Orleans Hotel & Casino, for approximately $1.8 billion.