Caesars Entertainment Corp., the casino operator with more than $20 billion of obligations, said it reached an agreement with bondholders that would cut its indebtedness by $548.4 million.
Creditors agreed to sell Caesars $89.4 million of its 6.5 percent notes due in 2016 and $66 million of its 5.75 percent debt due 2017, the company said in a regulatory filing today. Caesars and its operating unit will each pay holders $77.7 million in cash, while the parent contributes “no less than” $393 million of notes to its operating unit to be canceled.
The company also won the support of the holders of $82.4 million of operating-unit notes to amend bond indentures and agree to a restructuring of the notes within six months. The gaming company that was taken private by Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Capital in a $30.7 billion leveraged buyout in 2008, has been embroiled in dueling lawsuits with creditors as it seeks to rein in interest expense that exceeds its cash flow.
“This is just another step that the company is taking toward a bigger restructuring,” Chris Snow, an analyst at debt-research firm CreditSights Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview.
Noteholders also agreed to amend their bond indentures to remove a guarantee from the parent company and to modify a covenant “restricting disposition of ‘substantially all’” of the operating unit’s assets, according to the filing.
If Caesars doesn’t restructure its operating unit within 18 months, the Las Vegas-based company will pay the subsidiary $35 million, according to the filing.
“The transaction we are announcing today is the latest in a series of steps intended to deleverage” the operating unit and “position it for a potential stock listing,” Gary Loveman, chief executive officer of Caesars, said in a statement today.
The casino operator has accused more than 30 bondholders, including Appaloosa Management LP, Oaktree Capital Group LLC and Elliott Management Corp. of impeding efforts to restructure its debt. The noteholders, meanwhile, have said the company fraudulently transferred assets.
Caesars sold a 5 percent stake in its largest unit to undisclosed investors in May, a move it said paved the way for the company to removed guarantees by the parent company on most of its debt. The casino operator also transferred assets, including the Bally’s, Quad and Cromwell casino-hotels in Las Vegas, to an affiliate.
Stephen Cohen, a spokesman for Caesars at Teneo Holdings in New York, declined to comment.
The company’s quarterly interest expense climbed to $653.7 million at the end of last quarter, which compared with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $368.1 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.