Harrah's Entertainment confirmed it has agreed to be acquired for $90 a share in cash, or $17.1 billion, by two private equity firms.
The purchase, which was reported earlier by CNBC, is by Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group andincludes the assumption of $10.7 billion in Harrah's debt.
Harrah's, the world's largest casino company, was also courted by smaller rival Penn National Gaming, which did not match the financial firepower of the private equity companies in its offer.
As part of the deal, investors will still collect the Harrah's quarterly dividend of $0.40 per share until the deal closes. Sources said it could be a year before the transaction is completed. Apollo will start paying interest after 14 months if the deal is not closed.
Harrah's management will continue to run the company as part of the deal with private equity buyers.