LAS VEGAS (KMOX/AP) — Caesars Entertainment Corp. says it will sell its Harrah’s hotel-casino outside St. Louis to rival Penn National Gaming for $610 million.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Caesars and Penn National gave different reasons for the all-cash transaction that could close later this year.
Caesars Entertainment Chairman Gary Loveman says the company is looking at other growth markets. Caesars is opening the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland next week and Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati next year.
“The sale of this property exemplifies our strategy to maximize returns from our mix of assets through investments in new markets as well as occasional divestitures,” Loveman said.
Penn National Chairman Peter Carlino says Harrah’s St. Louis will be renamed under the company’s Hollywood label. This will be Penn’s second casino in Missouri, although it has others in nearby Alton, Ill., and Kansas City, Kan.
Penn National is opening the Hollywood Casino Toledo in Ohio later in May and Hollywood Casino Columbus later this year.
“We believe the addition of Harrah’s St. Louis highlights our commitment to build shareholder value through return-focused capital deployment and complements our existing development pipeline,” Carlino said. “We continue to evaluate other domestic regional gaming opportunities where we can leverage our balance sheet and proven operating disciplines.”
Gaming Researchers says the transaction makes sense for both companies; Penn National has the liquidity to buy properties while Caesars has assets for sale. Over the past two years, analysts had anticipated some sort of transaction between Penn and Caesars, but the sale of Harrah’s St. Louis did come as a shock.
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