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A merger or sale looks imminent for American casino owner and operator Caesars Entertainment Corp, according to investor Carl Icahn, who is also a stakeholder of the company. If that happens, only three casino companies based in Macau will be able to manage an all-cash take-over, writes brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.

In a recent note, Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd suggests that Wynn Resorts Ltd, MGM Resorts International, and Las Vegas Sands Corp are the only firms that have a realistic chance of all-cash takeover.

These firms have subsidiaries based in Macau: Wynn Macau Ltd, MGM China Holdings Ltd, and Sands China Ltd, respectively.

Sanford Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu, and Eunice Lee wrote that smaller U.S. based suitors, such as Eldorado Resorts Inc. and Penn National Gaming Inc., had no liquidity and lots of debt, and could do only a reverse merger for stock. “There could be cash funding created via asset sales (but a large portion of the Caesars Entertainment asset base has already been sold),” the note said.

Each of the three potential cash suitors for Caesars Entertainment – as defined by Sanford Bernstein – are looking to expand into Japan, where the first legal casinos will be opened in the next few years. On that basis, Sanford Bernstein said it did not think any of the trio were likely to go after Caesars Entertainment.

“With the Japan opportunity coming up (where we are talking about US$8-billion to US$10-billion-sized development projects) – we do not believe Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts or Wynn Resorts (who are also the more likely candidate to be able to be awarded a licence in Japan) would be interested in picking up Caesars (and not just for reasons tied to Japan) and gaining more exposure to the U.S. regional market and Las Vegas,” the report said.

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Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.