Caesars CEO Reeg Adds to Holdings in Company Stock

Posted on: June 25, 2023, 08:53h. 

Last updated on: June 26, 2023, 11:34h.

Shares of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) are higher by 8.68% year to date, and 13.14% over the past 12 months. But CEO Tom Reeg apparently sees value in the casino company he helms.

Tom Reeg
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg in a 2021 CNBC interview. He bought 7,500 shares of the company’s stock earlier this month. (Image: CNBC)

A recent Form 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirms Reeg bought 7,500 shares of Caesars stock earlier this month. The purchase occurred on June 14 at an average price of $49.93 for a total transaction price of $370,725. The stock closed at $45.21 on Friday after slumping 10% on the week.

That purchase was made through a trust that now owns 17,500 shares of the Flamingo operator. Reeg owns another 318,720 shares of his employer’s equity in a personal investing account.

Reeg became chief executive officer of the largest domestic casino operator by number of properties in July 2020, when Eldorado Resorts, the company he previously led, acquired the Harrah’s operator, creating “new Caesars.”

Reeg Has Caesars Trending in Right Direction

Reeg took the helm at Caesars during a tumultuous time. The coronavirus pandemic not only stifled the gaming industry, but cast doubt on whether or not Eldorado and Caesars would make it to the merger altar.

Since the deal was sealed and Reeg took the lead at the new company, Caesars’ stock is higher by approximately 36%. It’s also a favorite among Wall Street analysts at a time when the operator’s Las Vegas Strip and regional casinos are performing admirably.

Trends both in Vegas and in Regionals for the most part remain healthy and the company is not seeing any material signs that their customer base is weakening,” wrote Stifel analyst Steven Wieczynski in a note on Caesars out earlier this month. “We believe current trading levels have already incorporated a significant slowdown in consumer trends.”

Wieczynski rates the stock a “buy” with a $68 price target, implying upside of 51.9% from the June 23 close.

Reeg Driving Deleveraging, iGaming Profitability

Among the reasons Wall Street is enthusiastic about Reeg and the Caesars management team are debt reduction efforts and Caesars Digital’s flirtation with profitability, which could arrive later this year. That unit includes internet casinos and Caesars Sportsbook.

At the end of the first quarter, the gaming company had $13.2 billion in debt. While that’s one of the highest totals in the industry, it’s well below the tally seen when Eldorado acquired the company, and represented a sharp year-over-year improvement. Impressively, the debt reduction Caesars accomplished in 2022 arrived without the benefit of an asset sale. Analysts and the company itself believe another $1 billion-plus in liabilities can be eliminated this year, also without the assistance of selling a gaming venue.

It’s possible that by 2025, Caesars will have driven leverage down to the 3x range while generating $5 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). As Wieczynski notes, that could imply a per-share free cash flow of $12.