Harrah’s — and the World Series of Poker — to be sold

by Lou on December 19, 2006

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc, the world’s largest casino company, entered into a buyout agreement with private equity groups Apollo Management and Texas Pacific.

An official announcement on the deal, rumored to be $16.7 billion, is very close to completion and could be announced as early as today.

Published reports state that spokespersons for Harrah’s, Apollo, and Texas Pacific declined to comment.

This deal values Harrah’s at $90 per share, which was higher than the $87 per share offered by Penn Nation Gaming, a racetrack and casino operator interested in acquiring Harrah’s.

Once the ink is dry and the deal closes, questions about the World Series of Poker will be subject to debate and rumor. If the new owners believe Harrah’s is worth more parted out than in one piece, they could very well entertain bids for the WSOP from bidders around the world.

One outcome of this scenario might be moving the WSOP to Macao or some other emerging gaming location, if not permanently, than for the next few years, in order to spur gaming interest there.

The future of the WSOP is all speculation at this point, but there is no shortage of interesting scenarios that one might speculate about in the course of the next few months.

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