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Carl Icahn sells Tropicana Entertainment casinos for $1.85 billion

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6 days ago Nathan Bomey

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is selling his Tropicana Entertainment casino empire.

Icahn Enterprises announced Monday that it reached a deal to unload its majority-owned Tropicana assets for about $1.85 billion.

The deal calls for Gaming and Leisure Properties to take possession of Tropicana's real estate while Eldorado Resorts absorbs the gaming and hotel operations through a master lease.

Widely known for his activist investing and his past business ties to fellow casino baron Donald Trump, Icahn claimed credit for rehabilitating Tropicana since first backing the company in 2008.

He said Monday in a statement the company was "bankrupt and desperately needed new leadership" when he first stepped in.

"We identified this undervalued asset as being a perfect situation to deploy our modus operandi, by which we seek to acquire undervalued assets, nurture, guide and improve their condition and operations, and to ultimately greatly enhance value for all shareholders," Icahn said.

He credited a strong management team led by CEO Tony Rodio and a strategy of "reinvesting every single penny of profits back into the company" for helping Tropicana get back on its feet.

The deal includes Tropicana's flagship Tropicana Casino and Resort in struggling Atlantic City, N.J.

Eldorado will also get the Tropicana Laughlin Hotel and Casino and the MontBleu Casino Resort & Spa in South Lake Tahoe, Tropicana Evansville in Indiana, Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel in Louisiana, Trop Casino Greenville in Mississippi and Lumière Place in Missouri.

The sale includes 7,900 slot machines, 265 table games and about 5,400 hotel rooms, as well as restaurant, retail and entertainment hotspots.

The sale does not include the Tropicana Aruba Resort and Casino, which will be sold separately.

The deal also does not involve Icahn's separate ownership of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, which he will continue to own.

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