Icahn Caesars Buy Boosts Stock

Carl Icahn, who has made millions of dollars investing in casino companies, made a splash last week when he invested in Caesars Entertainment stock. The value of Caesars shares, which had declined almost 50 percent in the year, rallied on the Icahn news.

A report that billionaire Carl Icahn was buying more shares in Caesars Entertainment caused the beleaguered stock to jump more than 5 percent last week. Shares of the company have declined 46 percent over the past year, with no end in sight.

Icahn’s action, however, drew the attention of investors. The billionaire has a long history manipulating gaming stocks, starting with the Sands in Atlantic City, which he purchased in bankruptcy court in September 2000. After owning the property for several years, he sold it to Pinnacle Entertainment six years later for $250 million, which demolished the Sands amid plans to develop a new casino resort. Three years later, Pinnacle cancelled the casino plans and sold the land to local developers for less than $30 million.

He later bought the Tropicana casino chain out of bankruptcy in 2008, acquired several more casinos, and sold last year for $1.85 billion to Eldorado Resorts and Gaming & Leisure Properties.

Icahn also bought the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City in 2014 for $50 million, and sold it two years later to Hard Rock International for the same price.

Caesars emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 but the stock has languished ever since, due principally to a large debt load. Icahn’s interest in the company could lead to a hostile takeover, a regular strategy for Icahn.

Another billionaire, Landry’s and Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta had proposed a reverse takeover of Caesars last year, but his offer was rejected by the Caesars board.