US – Caesars to ‘comprehensively assess’ Icahn’s push to sellBy Phil - 20 February 2019
Caesars Entertainment has said it has held talks with investor Carl Icahn who has advised it should.
Having disclosed a 9.78 per cent stake in the US casino operator, Mr. Icahn said in a regulatory filing: “The board should conduct a strategic process to comprehensively assess the best path forward for Caesars and believe that shareholder value might be best served, and enhanced, by selling the company.”
Regarding the Form 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by High River Limited Partnership and other entities affiliated with Mr. Icahn, Caesars said: “Caesars Entertainment regularly engages with our stockholders and considers their ideas and input regarding stockholder value. The Board and management have engaged in discussions with Mr. Icahn and expect to continue a constructive dialogue. The Company intends to carefully evaluate Mr. Icahn’s suggestions, including his request for Board representation.
“Caesars’ Board and Management are pursuing a diversified growth strategy to create long-term value for stockholders and are committed to being prudent stewards of capital,” it added. “Following emergence from reorganization in October 2017, Caesars has continued to expand margins by driving record labor and marketing efficiency levels, while also achieving all-time high customer and employee satisfaction. Additionally, we continue to improve our Las Vegas EBITDAR margins which are the highest among all of our competitors. The company has also reduced annual interest expense by approximately $300m since 2017.”
“We are investing in top line growth by innovating in our core gaming business, leveraging our superior loyalty and marketing programs, and moving quickly to capitalise on emerging trends. We continue to focus on expanding margins by refining our operating model, in part by seeking more opportunities to increase efficiency. We are also pursuing inorganic growth through acquisitions and brand licensing opportunities, including opening the Company’s first non-gaming resort, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, last year. We expect to generate strong free cash flow in the coming years which will fuel further growth and deleveraging. “The Board remains open to all reasonable alternatives to enhance value for Caesars’ stockholders and has and will continue to evaluate strategic alternatives presented to it across a number of factors, including potential value creation and execution risk, given our highly regulated environment in the various domestic and international jurisdictions in which we operate.”