Harrah's Says National Indian Gaming Commission Will Allow Sale

Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has been notified by the National Indian Gaming Commission that it can proceed with a buyout plan pending final commission review, the company said Monday.

The conditional approval means Harrah's can go forward with its $17.7 billion purchase by private equity buyers Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group, Harrah's said in a statement.

No further regulatory approval is required, and Harrah's said it expects the deal will close in early 2008.

Officials with Harrah's in Las Vegas and the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond Monday to messages seeking comment.

The sale represents the world's largest casino buyout deal.

Harrah's agreed about a year ago to the Apollo-Texas Pacific buyout
for $90 per share.

The company, Apollo and Texas Pacific officials received the go-ahead for the deal last week from the Nevada Gaming Commission - capping a 10-week campaign to obtain approvals from state gambling regulators in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi.

Harrah's operates more than 50 casinos including Caesars and the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas and Bally's in Atlantic City.

It had nearly $9.7 billion in revenue last year.

The company's stock was up 51 cents, to $88.84 in Monday morning

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