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Timeline: Key moments in the contentious Caesars bankruptcy

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hold-out creditors of Caesars Entertainment Corp’s bankrupt operating unit accepted a sweetened $5 billion deal on Tuesday that could finally extricate the casino company from a costly bankruptcy.

Following are key events in the $18 billion bankruptcy of the Las Vegas-based casino group’s main operating unit, Caesars Entertainment Operating Corp Inc, or CEOC.

August 2014

* Caesars and its creditors file lawsuits against each other. Creditors say the parent company was fraudulently transferring choice casinos and hotels such as Planet Hollywood Resort Las Vegas and Octavius Tower out of CEOC. The parent company says creditors were trying to force a default to benefit a trade position.

December 2014

* Caesars announces its plan to merge with affiliate Caesars Acquisition Co in an all-stock deal that would provide the financing to support CEOC’s restructuring in exchange for legal releases from creditors.

January 2015

* CEOC files for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago with an agreement with first-lien lenders to split into two companies and cut $10 billion of debt.

March 2015

* U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Goldgar gives independent examiner Richard Davis wide scope to investigate seven transactions challenged by creditors. This sets off a yearlong probe by Davis, who was a member of the congressional investigation that resulted in U.S. President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate break-in.

October 2015

* Caesars tries to woo creditors by offering to contribute an estimated $1.5 billion into CEOC’s restructuring.

March 2016

* Examiner Davis concludes that Caesars and its private equity backers could be on the hook for up to $5.1 billion in potential damages over a series of corporate deals that he said left CEOC unable to pay a mountain of debt.

* Retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joseph Farnan is hired as an out-of-court mediator to help the feuding parties reach a settlement.

May 2016

* Caesars hires retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber to the new role of chief restructuring officer after warning it could join its unit in bankruptcy if forced to pay billions of dollars in damages from lawsuits by CEOC creditors.

* Caesars offers $4 billion in a new plan with higher recoveries for creditors to help CEOC emerge from Chapter 11.

Aug. 26, 2016

* Judge Goldgar withdraws a shield on lawsuits against the Caesars parent by hedge fund creditors owed billions of dollars by CEOC.

Aug. 30, 2016

* CEOC appeals Goldgar’s ruling, and creditors’ lawsuits are once again stayed. The stay by the court hearing the appeal is set to expire just before hearings that could lead to judgments in New York on Oct. 6 and in Delaware on Oct. 7.

Sept. 9, 2016

* Farnan abruptly steps down as mediator, blaming the “atypical views” of mediation by Goldgar in Chicago.

Sept. 14, 2016

* Judge Goldgar says Apollo and TPG directors must hand over details of their personal wealth to creditors to show they each have the financial resources to contribute to CEOC’s reorganization plan in exchange for releases from allegations of fraud.

Sept. 21, 2016

* Caesars offers additional $1.6 billion, saying this is its “best-and-final offer.”

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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