$17.3 billion Eldorado, Caesars merger 1 step closer after Nevada approval
RENO, Nev. — The mega merger of Reno’s Eldorado Resorts, Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Corporation in Las Vegas is one step closer to reality.
On Wednesday, the proposed $17.3 billion deal for Eldorado to buy Caesars at a stock price at $12.30 per share won unanimous endorsement from Nevada Gaming Control Board regulators and unanimous approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission.
“This deal, I believe, works,” Gaming Commissioner Steven Cohen said before his vote, according to a Wednesday report from The Associated Press. “To get this deal done, in this economic climate, in this climate of COVID-19. Good for you. Good for the state. Good for gaming in the United States.”
The Federal Trade Commission had previously accepted the merger on June 26, the terms of which stipulated that Eldorado agree to sell properties in Lake Tahoe, Louisiana and Kansas City.
According to previous NNBW reports, Eldorado had announced already this spring it was selling the Montbleu casino/resort in Tahoe and the Eldorado resort/casino in Shreveport, La., for $155 million in cash to Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
Next up for the proposed merger: reviews from the New Jersey Casino Control and the Indiana Gaming and Indiana Horse commissions. Both state’s commissions have board meetings set for July 10 and July 15, respectively.
Should the merger gain full approval, it would umbrella roughly 55 casinos and resorts in 16 U.S. states and other countries under a single name, creating the world’s largest casino company and making Eldorado one of the largest employers in Nevada.
Eldorado would own 56% of the merged company.
With the Nevada approval in hand, the entities announced Thursday in a joint statement that the deadline for Caesars stockholders to elect the form of merger consideration they wish to receive in the transaction has been set for 5 p.m. EST on July 16.
The completion of the transaction remains subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions.
“We think what we’re good at is taking existing properties, optimizing their operations, building a responsible capital structure and driving value for all of our stakeholders,” Eldorado CEO Thomas Reeg told the AP on Wednesday.
The company, which would retain the Caesars name, will be led by Reeg, along with Gary Carano, Eldorado Resorts board chairman. It will be based in Reno, where Eldorado is based, with a significant corporate presence in Las Vegas.
According to previous reports, the merger was initially expected to close by the end of March this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
According to the Wednesday AP story, Bret Yunker, Eldorado’s chief financial officer, said the companies lost $1 billion with properties closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. But after negotiating several financial agreements in recent weeks, he projected confidence the merged company had cash on hand to “get to the other side of this crisis.”
Reeg tallied about 34,000 employees between the two companies in Nevada before furloughs prompted by COVID-19 shutdowns. He said an unspecified number in jobs like buffets might not return, and about 1,000 mostly corporate positions might be eliminated.
“The best transactions are defined by sellers being willing to set their ego aside for the benefit of their customers and employees,” writes Mike Bosma.