Casino Gambling

Merger of Golden Nugget, Caesars Entertainment could create a powerful casino company

Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi and Caesar’s Atlantic City
Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi and Caesar’s Atlantic City AP and Sun Herald file

Tilman Fertitta, owner of Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi, has approached Caesars Entertainment about a merger, according to a report by Reuters.

The report says that under the plan, Caesars would be the acquirer and private equity firms Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Global would remain shareholders in the combined company.

Reuters reports that Caesars, which operates 49 casinos in 13 U.S. states as well as in Britain, Egypt, Canada and South Africa, has a market capitalization of $6.3 billion, while Fertitta’s net worth is pegged by Forbes at $4.5 billion.

Caesars is the parent company of Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino.

Fertitta owns five casinos in Biloxi, Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada, and last year became the owner of the Houston Rockets basketball team.

The merger, which CNBC reports was proposed about a week ago, would create one of the largest casino and hospitality companies in the world. Fertitta would become the chairman, CEO and the largest shareholder of the combined company, CNBC said. The cash and stock deal values the casino at $13 per share.

Fertitta has visited South Mississippi several times since he purchased the Isle Casino in late 2012 for $45 million. He cut the ribbon at the Golden Nugget Biloxi grand opening in May 2014, after he invested $100 million in renovations.

He also filmed segments of his “Billion Dollar Buyer” CNBC television show in Biloxi and Gulfport.

Fertitta is chairman, CEO, and sole shareholder of Landry’s Inc., which has more than 500 properties and restaurant brands such as Rainforest Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Saltgrass Steak House, which opened earlier this month in East Biloxi.

CNBC reported that if the deal is approved, Fertitta would put many of his existing restaurant brands into Caesars locations.