Casino industry contender Eldorado Resorts is swiftly moving up the ranks, gobbling up Caesars, the world’s third-largest casino operator in terms of revenue.
The $17.3 billion cash-and-stock deal, including debt, creates the largest casino operator in the U.S. Eldorado set its sights on scaling up to compete with the biggest casino industry players, such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. The merger positions it to do just that: As of the end of March, Caesars had 53 properties in 14 states and five countries outside the U.S., including casinos with the well-known Harrah’s and Horseshoe brands. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2017.
According to Statista, Las Vegas Sands is the world’s largest casino company, generating a total of $13.8 billion in revenue in 2018. MGM Resorts, which brought in $11.8 billion in revenue the same year, is its nearest competitor. Caesars came in third with $8.4 billion, while Wynn Resorts ranked fifth in terms of 2018 revenue at $6.7 billion. Clearly the new merger reshuffles the casino industry.
Eldorado has been on a winning streak. Since going public in 2014, its stocks have risen more than 10 times, outperforming those of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. In the past few years, it has made a series of acquisitions, including a $1.8 billion deal for Tropicana Entertainment in 2018, and a $1.7 billion deal for Isle of Capri Casinos in 2017. These have strengthened its free cash flow and earnings per share. Eldorado owns and operates 26 properties in 12 U.S. states, the New York Times reports.
The deal comes more than three months after Caesars agreed to give three board seats to billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s representatives, as well as a say in the selection of its next CEO. Icahn, who reportedly held a 14.75% stake in the company as of March 31, had been pushing for a sale of Caesars. He was pleased with the deal. “It is rare that you see a merger where because of the great synergies ‘one plus one equals five.’ I look forward to seeing our investment prosper,” he said.
The combined casino company, which will keep the Caesars name, is targeting $500 million in savings the first year of operation. Eldorado and Caesars shareholders will hold about 51% and 49% of its shares, respectively, once the deal closes in the first half of 2020.