LAS VEGAS-The European Union this week signed off on the acquisition of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. by private equity groups Apollo Management Group and Texas Pacific Group. Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the $17.1-billion buyout later today.

The European Commission, which typically rules on major global mergers, automatically approved the US$17.1-billion deal after identifying no antitrust problems and receiving no complaints in the past month. Applications for approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission were filed in February but a hearing in front of the agencies isn’t expected to occur until October or November.

Also this week, Harrah’s Entertainment and some stockholders agreed in principal to settle a class action lawsuit regarding the proposed buyout. The lawsuit was filed in November, when the per-share offer was still $83.50.

Harrah’s is the world’s largest casino company by revenue. The company’s board gave its support to the US$90-per-share buyout offer in December.

Harrah’s Entertainment said in a February regulatory filing that plans to split its real estate holdings from its operations by the time the acquisition is completed. For that story, click here.

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