In 2008, just before the financial crisis hit, Apollo Global Management (APO) and TPG completed their purchase of Harrah's Entertainment for $17.3 billion. In a sin of the markets exuberance, the private equity firms had to pay $90 a share for the world's biggest casino operator to up a bid of $87 a share made by Penn National Gaming (PENN), a much smaller casino operator, and hedge fund D.E. Shaw.
In June 2010, Paulson & Co, a hedge fund manager that injected cash into Harrah's by buying an equity stake of almost 10% in the casino company to take on $710 million in company debt. In the fall of 2010, private equity owners and Paulson & Co. tried to sell 31.25 million shares of Harrah's to the public in the range of $15 and $17 a share, but they benched the deal citing market conditions. Harrah's operates about 50 casinos, mostly in the United States and Britain. Unlike competitors Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Harrah's does not have a casino in Macau.
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