Caesars Entertainment Replaces 3 Board Members As Carl Icahn Takes Bigger Stake

The Colosseum At Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace
– The Colosseum At Caesars Palace

Caesars Entertainment will replace three board directors with members chosen by billionaire Carl Icahn, who seeks fundamental change at the casino and resort that also owns venues including the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Icahn recently revealed a 10 percent stake and last week the Las Vegas company acknowledged it had been in talks with the activist investor about its leadership. Icahn also said in a regulatory filing that he wants to put the company on the sales block.

The casino reported March 1 that Keith Cozza, Courtney Mather and James Nelson of the Icahn Group will immediately take the place of three existing board members. Icahn wants a say in who takes over when CEO Mark Frissora, who guided Caesars through its more than two-year-long bankruptcy reorganization, steps down.

Frissora was scheduled to leave last month, but that departure was pushed back to the end of April. Icahn said he doesn’t want Frissora’s tenure extended again.

The 4,298-capacity Colosseum at Caesars Palace has been the home to several notable residencies in the last decade including landmark runs by Celine Dion, Elton John, Bette Midler, Reba / Brooks & Dunn, and Rod Stewart, among others. Over the last three years, it has averaged 3,761 tickets per show reported to Pollstar, averaging a gross of $541,283.

Just down the Strip, Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood sports a capacity of 7,000 and most recently has hosted multiple-night runs with Backstreet Boys, Lionel Ritchie, Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani. Over the last three years, it has reported ticket sales to Pollstar of 1,521,599.

The Icahn Group, as part of the agreement announced, has the right to appoint a fourth director if Caesars fails to appoint a CEO that’s acceptable to the new board members within 45 days.

Icahn said that Caesars has underperformed rivals. Its share price certainly has lagged other major casinos, falling 30 percent over the past 12 months.

Shares of Caesars Entertainment Corp. rose 2 percent before the opening bell.