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GOLDEN NUGGET SEEKS CAESARS MERGER

Tilman Fertitta looks to become ceo of combined company

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The owner of Golden Nugget, Tilman Fertitta, is looking to make a deal with Caesars Entertainment Corp. that would value the casino company at $13 per share, according to reports in financial and hospitality industry publications.

The deal would be a reverse merger that would see Caesars as an acquirer, and Caesars shareholders Apollo Global Management and TPG Global would also have smaller stakes in the combined company.

The merger would help Fertitta, which borrowed money to buy the Houston Rockets basketball team for $2.2 billion last year, fold debt into a larger entity, according to Bloomberg. In recent years, Fertitta has expanded his casino business, opening a resort in Louisiana in 2014 and remodeling properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In the proposed merger deal, Fertitta would become chairman and ceo of the combined company, Bloomberg reports.

Fertitta is the sole owner of Golden Nugget Inc., Landry's Inc. and Fertitta Entertainment. Caesars closed the market on Thursday at $10.25 per share. Caesars, which has a market value of $7.2 billion, disappointed shareholders this past quarter and warned of tepid performance ahead for the U.S. gambling industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Nugget Inc.