Posts Tagged ‘Sells’

Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

 Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $1.14 Billion

Caesars Entertainment Corporation has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Harrah’s Las Vegas to VICI Properties for $ 1.14 billion. If this sounds rather shocking, you may be relieved to know (or not really care, as the case may be) that it is all part of a plan.

In mid-November, Caesars announced that it will acquire Centaur Holdings, LLC for $ 1.7 billion in cash. Centaur owns Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana and the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana. The sale of Harrah’s Las Vegas is being used to finance the Centaur deal.

It will also continue to be business as usual at Harrah’s, as Caesars will enter into a 15-year lease for the property, paying VICI an initial annual rent of $ 87.4 million, a number which will increase as the years go on. Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s. When the lease term is up, Caesars will be able to extend the lease for up to 20 years in four five-year extensions.

On top of that, Caesars is acquiring an 18.4 acre plot of land adjacent to Harrah’s from VICI on which it plans to build a 300,000 square foot convention center. The development “is expected to feature the largest column-free ballroom in the United States and to be outfitted with state-of-the-art technology.”

“The transactions we are announcing today demonstrate our commitment to pursuing growth opportunities while maintaining balance-sheet discipline,” said Mark Frissora, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, in a press release. “We expect the sale and leaseback of Harrah’s Las Vegas will allow us to acquire Centaur and develop the convention center without increasing leverage. The sale and leaseback transaction is our first post-emergence transaction with VICI and maintains Harrah’s Las Vegas’ connectivity to our network, which will create value and provide benefits to our guests. The acquisition of the adjacent land and development of the convention center allows us to develop another important destination right in the middle of our center-Strip footprint.”

That center-strip footprint includes, from north to south on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip: Harrah’s, Linq, Flamingo, Cromwell, Bally’s, Paris, and Planet Hollywood. Caesars Palace is across the street from Harrah’s. The company also owns the Rio just off the Strip, which is the home of the World Series of Poker.

The deal stipulates that once the convention center is completed, Caesars can actually require VICI buy the property and lease it back to Caesars, like it is doing with Harrah’s. If Caesars does not exercise that option, VICI can decide for itself if it wants to do it, anyway.

The post Caesars Sells Harrah’s Las Vegas for $ 1.14 Billion appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Playtech Co-Founder Sells £329 Million of Company Stock

 Playtech Co Founder Sells £329 Million of Company Stock

Playtech PLC’s co-founder Teddy Sagi, the company’s largest shareholder, has sold off a sizable chunk of his stock in the company. The sale was made through his trust, Brickington Trading Limited.

It was known that Sagi was going to sell some of his stock, but he decided to increase the amount from 10 percent to 12 percent of his holdings. He still remains Playtech’s largest shareholder, owning 21.6 percent of the online gaming firm. The fun figures: 38.7 million ordinary shares for 850p each, a total of £329 million.

As part of the sale, Sagi and Brickington (which sounds like a LEGO city) agreed to not sell any more shares for 180 days.

The sale put a hurting on other shareholders, as naturally Playtech’s stock price plummeted to the level at which Brickington sold. On November 29th, the day before the sale, Playtech (LON: PTEC) closed at 921p per share. Brickington clearly sold at a discount, but when selling that many shares, that is not unusual, as Brickington needed to match up with buyers. So while it hurts other shareholders in the near term, this sort of thing is commonplace.

Sometimes, when major shareholder sells a significant piece of their holdings, it can be a sign that said shareholder is not confident in the future of the company. That is not the case with Sagi. Sagi simply wanted to diversify Brickington’s portfolio, not keeping it weighted quite so heavily in Playtech (though it still is). The trust also holds shares in tech ventures and UK property. Playtech has said that Sagi is still very much onboard with where the company is going.

In March of 2014, Sagi made a similar transaction, selling 15 percent of his stake in Playtech at the time for £326 million. He had not originally intended to sell that much, but according to Reuters, Playtech said that there was such high demand for the stock that Sagi decided to up his sale from 29.3 million shares to 45 million. After that sale, Sagi owned 33.6 percent of Playtech and promised to not sell any more shares for a year. Playtech Chief Executive Mor Weizer and Chief Financial Officer Ron Hoffman both bought thousands of Sagi’s shares in the offloading.

Playtech is the world’s largest online gaming software developer, providing licenses for a number of customers, including Betfair, William Hill, and Paddy Power. It operates the iPoker Network, currently ranked sixth in terms of cash game traffic by PokerScout.com. With a seven-day average of 950 cash game players, it is just behind the Winning Poker Network (1,000 cash game players) and Winamax.fr (1,100). The top three poker rooms are PokerStars (13,000), 888poker (1,900), and Ignition, which took over Bovada’s poker room (1,200). Ignition and Winning Poker Network have an advantage over iPoker, as they still accept customers from the U.S.

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Super High Roller Bowl Sells Out Two Months Before Start

 Super High Roller Bowl Sells Out Two Months Before Start

More than two months before it is set to take to the felt, the 24/7 streaming network Poker Central and the Aria Resort & Casino’s Super High Roller Bowl tournament – which proved to be such a success in 2015 that it was expanded for this year – has sold out of seats for the $ 300,000 buy in event.

Registration for the tournament opened up in January, well ahead of the May 29 play date at Aria in Las Vegas. The field was increased to 49 players (from the 43 that took part in 2015), but the buy-in was also decreased (to $ 300,000 from the $ 500,000 it was last year). As an additional treat, a still-unknown sponsor has put up $ 300,000 to bring the total prize pool to a nice round $ 15 million, with $ 5 million going to first place. Still, the speed in which the event sold out surprised the event’s host and its broadcast outlet.

“With some of the most exciting and famous players locked in, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl will be riveting to watch,” Clint Stinchcomb, the Chief Executive Officer of Poker Central, said during the announcement of the sell-out. “The speed at which this event sold out is evidence of the popularity of the tournament and of poker itself.” Someone else who expressed his surprise in the rapidity of the sell-out was Aria Poker Director Sean McCormack, who commented that he had “never seen” a high-stakes tournament sell out so far ahead of its play date. He also commented that, if for some reason that a player or players have to back out of the event, there is a waiting list that will be utilized to fill the slots.

The player list for the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl reads like a clash between the history of the game of poker and the advancing guard of the younger players. Members of the “over-40” sect such as former World Champions Bobby Baldwin and Phil Hellmuth, all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, eight-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Erik Seidel, poker veteran Larry Wright and business figures Dan Shak, Kathy Lehne (who will become the first woman to ever play in the Super High Roller Bowl) and Bill Perkins.

On the youth movement, players such as Rainer Kempe, Sam Soverel, Matthew Berkey, Igor Kurganov, Isaac Haxton, Jake Schindler, Fedor Holz, Dominik Nitsche, Dan Smith, Doug Polk and Connor Drinan will pull up to the tables. The Global Poker League will have a great deal of representation, including New York Rounders manager Bryn Kenney and his first round draft pick Jason Mercier, the San Francisco Rush’s Anthony Gregg, the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans’ Byron Kaverman and the London Monarchs’ Justin Bonomo (among many others). Finally, there’s the two “Big One for One Drop” champions, Dan Colman and Antonio Esfandiari, Scott Seiver, Stephen Chidwick, Talal Shakerchi and Vitaliy Rizhov coming along for the fight…and this is just a few of the competitors, a full list can be found here.

(Aria will be providing two players as a “sponsor’s entry”)

The inaugural Super High Roller Bowl was one of the biggest events to ever be attempted in the poker world. With the second largest buy-in in the history of poker (only the “Big One for One Drop” and its $ 1 million buy-in was bigger), the tournament was hotly contested by the men who took up the chips and cards to take part, working through the three-day event until seven men were left to divvy up the $ 21.5 million pool. Every one of the seven finishers in last year’s tournament are going to be back in 2016, looking to at least go “2 for 2” in cashing in the tournament:

1. Brian Rast, $ 7,525,000
2. Scott Seiver, $ 5,160,000
3. Connor Drinan, $ 3,225,000
4. Timofey Kuznetsov, $ 2,150,000
5. David Peters, $ 1,505,000
6. Tom Marchese, $ 1,075,000
7. Erik Seidel, $ 860,000

Just like last year, the tournament will pay the top seven finishers, with the winner earning a $ 5 million payday.

When the tournament comes around at the end of May (perfect timing as the players will already be in town for the World Series of Poker), it will draw the attention of the poker world. It will also draw the attention of fans to Poker Central, who will broadcast the event over its network. It might be hard to imagine it, but this year’s version of the Super High Roller Bowl could be bigger than its predecessor.

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Dogs Playing Poker Painting Sells for Over $650,000

 Dogs Playing Poker Painting Sells for Over $650,000

They say the value of something is whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. All it takes is one person to REALLY want something for the price to skyrocket (well, maybe two people, as only a fool would bid against himself). So when you think of the kitchy dogs playing poker paintings, don’t laugh, because one of them just sold for $ 658,000 at Sotheby’s art auction.

The painting, titled “Poker Game,” was painted in 1894 by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. It is not THE dogs playing poker painting that has become famous in American history – that one, also by Coolidge, is called “A Friend in Need” – but nevertheless, it is considered an important part of American culture and thus has significant value as both art and Americana.

Both “Poker Game” and “A Friend in Need” are part of a series of sixteen oil paintings (“Dogs Playing Poker” series) featuring anthropomorphized dogs commissioned by the Brown & Bigelow cigar company in 1903 for a calendar. They have become synonymous with both humor and poor decorative taste. Nevertheless, because of the unique niche they have found themselves in during the past century, they have become quite valuable pieces of art. “A Bold Bluff” and “Waterloo,” two other paintings in the series, sold as a pair for $ 590,400 in 2005.

Sotheby’s summarizes how Coolidge got started in the dog painting game in on the webpage for the auction:

In the upstate New York town of Antwerp, Coolidge worked, almost simultaneously, as a druggist, painter of street signs and house numbers, and founder of the first newspaper and earliest bank all within the years between 1868 and 1872. It was after a trip to Europe in 1873 that he turned up in Rochester, New York, as the portraitist of dogs whose life-style mirrored the successful middle-class humans of his time. Coolidge’s first customers were cigar companies, who printed copies of his paintings for giveaways. His fortunes rose when he signed a contract with the printers Brown & Bigelow, who turned out hundreds of thousands of copies of his dog-genre subjects as advertising posters, calendars, and prints.

Sotheby’s also quotes an article titled “A Man’s Life” from the February 1973 edition of American Heritage magazine in explaining society’s attraction to Coolidge’s work:

Coolidge’s poker-faced style is still engaging today. His dogs fit with amazing ease into such human male phenomena as the all-night card game, the commuter train, and the ball park. His details of expression, clothing, and furniture are precise. Uncannily, the earnest animals resemble people we all know, causing distinctions of race, breed, and color to vanish and evoking the sentiment on an old Maryland gravestone: MAJOR Born a Dog Died a Gentleman.

The lesson to be learned here is to never throw anything away. That macaroni-on-velvet portrait of Elvis with airbrush finish could be worth something someday.

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