Harrah's Entertainment Accepts Buyout

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest casino company, said Tuesday that its board has accepted a $17.1 billion buyout offer from two private equity groups.

Harrah's accepted a $90 a share buyout offer from the groups Apollo Management Group and Texas Pacific Group. That is a premium of about 36 percent over Harrah's closing price on Sept. 29, the last trading day before it announced Apollo and Texas Pacific had offered $81 per share Oct. 2 to take the company private.

The buyers are also assuming $10.7 billion in debt in the deal announced Tuesday.

A special committee of Harrah's board, which excluded chief executive and chairman Gary Loveman, had been meeting in New York since last week after the company set a Tuesday deadline to receive offers.

The board recommended shareholder approval.

"In Apollo and TPG, we will have owners who share our vision for Harrah's, are fully supportive of our current strategy and are committed to helping us execute on it," Loveman said in a statement. "This will be a change in ownership, not a change in direction."

Harrah's shares rose 12 cents to $82.30 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange before trading was halted over news of the deal.

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