American land-based casino operator, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, has announced the signing of a deal with Carl Icahn (pictured) that has seen it allow the billionaire investor to name a trio of new directors to its board.
The Las Vegas-headquartered firm used an official Friday press release to detail that the agreement has involved James Nelson, Courtney Mather and Keith Cozza replacing three others as the latest members of its board of directors. The firm explained that the arrangement will also allow Icahn, who controls some 9.78% of its outstanding shares, to appoint a fourth representative should it not name a new Chief Executive Officer by April 15.
Caesars is responsible for approximately 25 casinos including the iconic Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino but has seen the value of its shares decline by around 30% over the course of the past year. To halt this deterioration, 83-year-old Icahn has publicly declared that he would like the company to merge with a rival operator or find a new owner that will better allow it to fulfill its potential.
Enhancing investor value:
James Hunt, Chairman for Caesars Entertainment, stated that the three new members of his firm’s board of directors ‘bring diverse and relevant experience’ and will assist the operator ‘to further enhance value for all shareholders.’
Hunt’s statement read…
“Since the completion of Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s restructuring, we have been undergoing a strategic process to create value and we will continue that process working with our new directors. On behalf of the entire board and Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s nearly 68,000 employees, I want to thank our departing director colleagues for their distinguished and tireless service to the company.”
For his part, Icahn proclaimed that the new understanding is set to allow Caesars to conduct ‘a thorough strategic process’ in order to decide whether ‘to sell or merge’ its assets. He moreover pronounced that such an exercise will permit the operator ‘to further develop its already strong regional presence’ in order to bring additional players into its Las Vegas properties.
Icahn’s statement read…
“I expect this to make Caesars Entertainment Corporation the most powerful competitor in Las Vegas, the gaming capital of the world. Caesars Entertainment Corporation would be a great opportunity for certain investors who have already expressed interest and I’m glad the board will explore these opportunities. Independent of strategic alternatives, I believe Caesars Entertainment Corporation should also be focused on leadership succession, disciplined capital allocation, improving operating performance and optimizing real estate and other assets.”