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Carl Icahn increases stake in Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Updated March 8, 2019 - 5:53 pm

Hedge fund activist Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Caesars Entertainment Corp., earning him a date before Nevada gaming regulators for licensing since his holdings exceed the 10 percent ownership threshold.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, Caesars disclosed the 83-year-old billionaire had upped his previous 10 percent stake in company stock to 15.53 percent, making him the company’s largest shareholder.

Icahn-controlled High River Limited Partnership, Icahn Partners LP and Icahn Partners Master Fund LP, in six transactions completed Thursday, bought 38.9 million shares at between $8.50 and $8.55 a share.

It’s unclear when Icahn will be called before gaming regulators for a suitability hearing, but because of his past experience on the board controlling the Stratosphere he’s not expected to face any obstacles for licensing.

Earlier this month, Icahn negotiated with the company to appoint Icahn Enterprises CEO Keith Cozza, Icahn Enterprises board member James Nelson and Icahn Capital fund manager Courtney Mather to the 12-member board of directors.

With a 15.5 percent ownership position and a quarter of the board loyal to him, Icahn should have considerable influence in selecting Caesars’ next CEO.

Current CEO Mark Frissora, who formerly headed Hertz Global Holdings, has announced plans to step down in April. Icahn has indicated he would like an executive with gaming industry experience in the CEO’s seat.

Caesars shares closed down 13 cents, 1.5 percent, to $8.45 a share on volume slightly above the daily average. After hours, the issue rebounded by 3 cents, 0.4 percent, to end at $8.48 a share.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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