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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Carl Icahn gambled again. And won again, given Monday's news that Eldorado Resorts agreed to buy Caesar's Entertainment for $17.3 billion (including assumed debt), or $12.75 per share in cash and stock.

Why it matters: It creates the largest owner and operator of U.S. casinos, with the combined company to retain the Caesar's brand.

  • The price is a 29% premium over where shares closed Friday, and nearly an 88% increase from where they entered 2019.

Details: Icahn first disclosed a 9.8% stake in Caesar's in mid-February, and began pushing the company to sell. Caesar's quickly folded, giving Icahn three board seats and a say in picking its next CEO.

  • By the end of March, Icahn was the company's largest outside shareholder with a 15.84% stake (per S&P IQ).
  • He reportedly worked to block an $11 per share takeover offer from Eldorado which, if true, netted Icahn an additional $174 million.
  • Caesar's shares opened trading in 2019 below $7 per share, and closed Friday at $9.99 per share.

The big picture: Today's deal is the second time in less than a year that Icahn has cashed in chips at the Eldorado window, having previously sold it Tropicana Entertainment for $1.85 billion.

The state of play: Icahn also took the rare step of publicly praising the Caesar's board for "acting responsibly and decisively in negotiating and approving this transformational transaction."

  • But, true to form, he also used the moment to slam Occidental Petroleum for its proposed Anadarko acquisition, over which Icahn is suing Occidental.
"There are far too many boards that unlike Caesars, believe corporations are more like feudal systems, than democracies; that stockholders are the peasants who represent a necessary evil that must be tolerated, possibly patronized, but certainly ignored."

Go deeper: The war between Carl Icahn and Cigna

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 10 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."