Faced with the possibility of being forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ: CZR) is considering selling its interactive unit, which is one of the company’s few branches that is actually in the black.
Reports surfaced on Friday, that multiple, unsolicited offers had been received by Caesars to acquire Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE). The interactive unit includes a social gaming division that is extremely lucrative, the World Series of Poker brand, as well as a real-money gambling operation that isn’t quite as successful, according to CalvinAyre.
CIE is reportedly valued by the bids at more than $4 billion and sources from the Wall Street Journal said that investment bank Raine Group had been enlisted by Caesars to help evaluate the offers, while the usual conditions, no guarantee of the sale and no formal sale was in progress, were stressed.
While CIE makes for an attractive acquisition target, the fact that Caesars and Caesars Acquisition Co (CACQ) jointly own CIE and that the latter is the subject of multiple lawsuits with junior creditors seeking billions of dollars, is a problem. For more than a year, Caesars has been focused on bringing Caesars Entertainment Operating Co (CEOC), its main operating unit, out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, pre-bankruptcy transfers of properties in the black such as CIE out of the struggling CEOC, and in theory, out of the reach of creditors, have been met with a wall of resistance.
An independent investigator, former Watergate prosecutor, Richard J. Davis, in March said that the transfer of these assets was made in spite of the owners of Caesars knowledge that CEOC was already technically bankrupt. That same investigator also said that Caesars creditors were owed as much as $5 billion more than the company had been offering them through the restructuring plan of CEOC and that selling CIE would provide a substantial amount towards funding the difference. However, considering that CIE has been a beacon of light in the mostly dark waters of Caesars efforts over the past few years, its sale could be more problematic for the company’s future.
On May 6, Caesars announced that it had appointed retired bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber to the newly created position of chief restructuring officer. Caesars said that if creditors are successful in their claim that assets were inappropriately transferred by the parent company prior to it seeking bankruptcy protection for the operating unit, or that CEOC remained in bankruptcy proceedings for an extended period, it’s likely that it would seek reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.