The massive size of Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR)’s debt burden means that it’s teetering dangerously close to bankruptcy, according to The Deal’s Lisa Allen. Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said earlier this week in the investor conference call that they are working to improve the capital structure of the company, but time could be running out.
Caesars owes $23.7 billion
The casino operator has taken steps to buy back some of its debt and also look into a spinoff, but at this point the company’s debt load is $23.7 billion. Allen also reports that the company has “substantial maturities in 2015 and 2016,” giving the company little time to raise the cash needed to make those payments on time.
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She said the debt investors she has spoken with aren’t optimistic when it comes to Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR). One unnamed hedge fund invested in the company’s debt told her that the casino operator’s chances of avoiding bankruptcy are slim.
Caesars’ overall odds aren’t good
“They would need a meteor to destroy the earth, or they’d need Apollo Global Management LLC to come in and buy billions of debt” in order to avoid being forced to file for bankruptcy, the fund told her. The same fund also indicated that management at Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) may already be thinking about filing because they know that the company’s end must be near.
When splitting Caesars into its two units—Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., Inc. and Caesars Property Co.—the fund sees more potential in one. The representative told Allen that the property arm of the company might be “fixable,” although investors who have bought into the operating arm’s debt may be out of luck. He said the property owning arm of Caesars could refinance its debt before it files for bankruptcy
Will Caesars purposely tank its stock?
The investor also provided a potential strategy for Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR).
“If I was them, I’d just tank the business, buy back debt in the 20s and equitize those notes,” the investor told Allen.
Shares of Caesars plunged 4 percent in trading on Wednesday.