Icahn-Recommended Anthony Rodio To Be Named Caesars CEO


Caesars will reportedly announce today the appointment of Anthony Rodio as the replacement of outgoing CEO Mark Frissora

Gaming and hospitality company Caesars Entertainment Corp. is expected to name today Anthony Rodio as its new Chief Executive Officer, the Wall Street Journal reports citing sources familiar with the matter.

It is also believed that the Las Vegas casino powerhouse is evaluating takeover interest after news emerged in recent weeks that at least two fellow gambling companies were interested in buying Caesars.

In an announcement expected to be made later today, Caesars is to reveal that Mr. Rodio will replace the company’s outgoing Chief Executive Mark Frissora and will take his seat on the board. Mr. Rodio currently serves as CEO of private gaming company Affinity Gaming.

Mr. Frissora’s departure was first announced last year. Caesars’ top executive, who steered the company through a complex bankruptcy of its main operating unit, was originally expected to step down in February, but it later on became clear that he would stay until at least mid-April.

It can be said that Caesars might have bowed to pressure from its largest stockholder Carl Icahn with the naming of Mr. Rodio as its new CEO. Reports emerged earlier this year that the New York activist investor was lobbying the casino company to pick namely Mr. Rodio as a replacement for its outgoing Chief.

Reviewing Takeover Bids

Sources also said that Caesars has formed a board committee that will be working with bankers at investment bank PJT Partners to assess takeover interest it has received.

The Las Vegas company has been courted by at least two suitors who are interested in buying its more than 50 gambling and non-gambling resorts across four continents. News emerged last month that Caesars has granted access to financial data to fellow casino operator Eldorado Resorts and that the latter was conducting due diligence in relation to the potential acquisition of its larger counterpart.

Sources also revealed earlier this month that the owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain, Tilman Fertitta, has too approached Caesars with offer for a potential tie-up. Mr. Fertitta made a bid to buy the casino empire and merge it with his own gaming business last fall, but Caesars rejected that offer.

The latest wave of reports from inside the Las Vegas gambling powerhouse shows that it might have succumbed to pressure from its largest shareholder to consider selling itself. Mr. Icahn announced that he was building a stake in Caesars early this year, revealing that he owned 10% of company shares at the time.

The businessman has amassed a 28.5% stake and has secured board representation since his original announcement. Mr. Icahn has been pressing Caesars to sell itself or merge with another company, as he believes this is the best path forward for the company, which emerged from a bankruptcy in the fall of 2017, but is still trying to cope with an $18 billion long-term debt.

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