ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Harrah's Entertainment Inc. announced today that it has made an offer to acquire Players International Inc. in a cash deal worth approximately $272 million.
The offer price of $8.50 per share is almost 30 percent more than Players' closing stock price Friday of $6.56 1/4 a share on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Harrah's, based in Memphis, Tenn., said it anticipates entering into a binding agreement with Atlantic City, N.J.-based Players by Thursday.
Phil Satre, Harrah's chief executive, said in a statement that the acquisition of Players' gambling properties will strengthen Harrah's geographic reach in the industry.
Players International operates two cruising riverboat casinos in Lake Charles, La.; a riverboat casino on the Ohio River in Metropolis, Ill.; two dockside riverboat casinos in Maryland Heights, Mo.; and a horse racing track in Paducah, Ky.
"We are excited about the opportunities to leverage Players' Lake Charles operation to create direct access to customers in the Houston market," Satre said.
Harrah's Entertainment operates 18 casinos in the United States under the Harrah's, Showboat and Rio brand names. Harrah's said it intends to convert each of the Players properties to its current Showboat or Harrah's brand.
The merger agreement has been approved by Players' board, and is contingent on obtaining Players' shareholder and regulatory approvals, Harrah's said.
Harrah's also said it will assume $150 million of Players' debt in connection with the merger and that Players has given notice to terminate an existing merger agreement with Jackpot Enterprises Inc.