March 1, 2019 / 12:41 PM / 8 months ago

Caesars bows to Icahn demands on board, sale still eyed

FILE PHOTO: Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S. on February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp has struck a deal with investor Carl Icahn that appoints three new directors to its board, although the billionaire hedge fund manager continues to press for a sale of the company.

The company said on Friday it had come to an agreement with Icahn, on the composition of its board and appointment of the next chief executive officer, under which three existing directors will step down.

The deal provides the Icahn Group the right to appoint a fourth representative to the board if a new CEO who is acceptable to new directors is not named within 45 days.

Icahn, who disclosed a 9.8 percent stake in Caesars last week, said in the same statement that he still believed the best path forward for one of the Las Vegas strip’s most famous names was either a sale or a merger.

Caesars said it had appointed Keith Cozza, Courtney Mather and James Nelson to its board effectively immediately.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Icahn had proposed Anthony Rodio, the CEO of privately held casino gaming company Affinity Gaming, as the successor to Mark Frissora, who is due to step down as Caesars CEO later this year.

Rodio was previously CEO of Tropicana Entertainment Inc, another casino and resort operator that Icahn sold last year to peer Eldorado Resorts Inc for $1.85 billion.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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