Harrah's Entertainment completed its first day as a private company after being bought out for a cool $17.1 billion. Two months ago the company announced, “a change in ownership, but not a change in direction.” Although the latter has yet to be proven, the former holds true after what is being hailed as the world’s largest casino buyout.

Harrah’s had agreed to such a schedule in December of 2006 after being bought by affiliates of Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Global Management LP. Shareholders sealed the deal on April 5, 2007. Stockholders will receive $90 in cash for each of Harrah’s shares, cashing out a hefty sum after going all in.

The newly rejuvenated, privately-owned Harrah’s is already set to proceed with a $4 billion expansion plan. Industry analysts have speculated that the newest investment will be focused on an online push into the markets of Europe.

Harrah’s currently operates over 50 casinos all over the world. Some of the more famous casinos include Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, Bally’s and Harrah’s-all in Las Vegas. Others outside of Vegas include Caesar’s Atlantic City and Bally’s in Atlantic City, N.J. They are also the world’s largest gambling company by revenue, taking nearly $10 billion in 2006.

Before completing the deal the company had to receive approvals from state gambling regulators in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and the National Indian Gambling Commission.

Gary Loveman, Harrah’s chairman, chief executive officer and president – along with Vice Chairman Atwood – were in meetings all day Monday and were not available for comment. Loveman, who will cash in a cool $94 million in stock, will be the one to oversee Harrah’s day to day operations. He, along with four representatives from each of the private equity firms who hold the nine board member seats, will direct the company.

Harrah’s was founded in 1937 when Bill Harrah opened up a bingo parlor in Reno. With the current economic slump Harrah’s future is uncertain but it what is sure is its continuation as one of the most famous and progressive names in gambling.

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