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Summary

It was the most brutal corporate restructuring in Wall Street history. The 2015 bankruptcy brawl for the storied casino giant, Caesars Entertainment, pitted brilliant and ruthless private equity legends against the world's most relentless hedge fund wizards.

The Caesars bankruptcy put a twist on the old-fashioned casino heist. Through a $27 billion leveraged buyout and a dizzying string of financial engineering transactions, Apollo and TPG - in the midst of the post-Great Recession slump - had seemingly snatched every prime asset of the company from creditors, with the notable exception of Caesars Palace. But Caesars's hedge fund lenders and bondholders had scooped up the company's paper for nickels and dimes. And with their own armies of lawyers and bankers, they were ready to do everything necessary to take back what they believed was theirs - if they could just stop their own infighting.

These modern financiers now dominate the scene in corporate America as their fight-to-the-death mentality continues to shock workers, politicians, and broader society - and even each other.

©2021 Sujeet Indap and Max Frumes (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about The Caesars Palace Coup

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but too technical

Fascinating insight into the ruthless Apollo machine. These are FT writers and are clearly writing for a finance type audience. Even so, they could have simplified some of the technical back and forth. It’s also a bit too long.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

An interesting story told utterly boring

Even Chris the narrator sounded like he was struggling to stay awake. Far too technical and detailed. What should be a fascinating story is more like reading hours of an actual office, minutes of meeting, notes. Haven't read anything as bad as this. Ever.

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Complex story told with clarity

This is a highly complex story/investigation with many moving parts but it is told with clarity and is a complete page turner

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  • howard bascom
  • 12-07-21

HORRIBLE UNREADABLE BOOK.

First of all, the reader has a very snippy,lispy, voice and I don’t see what it adds to a business book. Second,as a lot of narrators,he doesn’t even bother to pronounce words correctly. Anyone who knows anything knows that the DA of EBITDA is pronounced DO as in DOCK-not DU as in DUH,I’m an idiot. Third, I think the author is sort of a Financial Market Groupie in the true sense of the word. It’s more important to him to show off his insider knowledge that to make it understandable for the reader. For example,he writes “the debt is at the bottom of the totem”. Yeah,well,so what does that mean. No one is better at making complexity understandable than Warren Buffett. That’s because he’s doesn’t need to show off to anyone and his purpose is CLEAR,SIMPLE, EXPLANATIONS.Finally, he’s a horrible writer. He actually wrote “they threw caution into the wind” instead of “to the wind”,as John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost.
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Jares
  • 10-09-21

Tough read

Unless you’re a bankruptcy attorney, this is pretty dry. There’s some drama, but a lot of it is obscure legal concepts and corporate finance intricacies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Philo
  • 24-03-21

Dryer than Michael Lewis. That said, VERY good.

I like this a book a lot. It sharpens and elevates my thinking. It is intermittently brilliant and hilarious. A tapestry eventually emerges that gives a detailed rich picture of our history today, through lenses of law, corporate finance, and even politics. My one star off would be for the overall story pacing, and the patience it takes, to get this tapestry. Entry level to get this and not glaze over, is a basic understanding of corporate finance, and some seasoning in law. This would match the expected audience. What limits the audience is the scattered, piecemeal bits of definitions, background explanations and context. In popular writing such as Michael Lewis or a typical Wall Street Journal, there is a modicum of hand-holding in the form of a disciplined and well-timed sprinkling all through of concise explanations of terms and quick views of broader contexts. Lewis goes further, to have a well-thought, over-arching story structure that is pretty easy to follow (to the point of too-obvious heroes, the latter I mostly find condescending and annoying). This book goes to the other side of that spectrum, with great details but only sporadic background for those not versed on this inside baseball. That said, the story that emerges grows more gripping and more momentous as it moves along, as sharp and revelatory contemporary history. The actors are big in our society. Mark Rowan, a major figure here, just stepped up to the top of Apollo, and Apollo as I write this moving to acquire more of Vegas (former Sands properties). It matters how such actors operate, regionally and nationally. Their grip on, for example, U.S. Senators and federal law, as mapped and explicated here, matters. There are good insights on judges as further wild cards in the complex U.S. legal scene, and courtroom scenes that made me smile, remembering some of my own. There are some scary things about these folks and dynamics documented here. But this story has every nuance and dimension one might hope for. It is not a screed. I appreciate that the authors let the facts speak, rather than being shrill or excessively hand-wringing about "greed."

I would further recommend for those not already versed in this area, these other titles I have heard here at audible: The Art of Vulture Investing, and Distress Investing: Principles and Technique, and, on the corporate law and finance history side, Bloodsport by Teitelbaum. I suspect, the typical Lewis-level fan might glaze over, for some stretches. Patience is richly rewarded, though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • alex ainsley
  • 23-03-21

Catnip for Finance Nerds

Wow! Best business book I have read in YEARS- should be required reading for anyone thinking about entering the PE world. Sort of a hybrid of “Bloodsport” and all of Michael Lewis’ books on finance- with an All-star cast of finance titans, lucid explanations of legalese, and the best narrative flow since “Barbarians at the Gates” this book hit me on all levels. I will not be surprised at all to this on a lot of 2021 top ten lists by the end of the year.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Reeka
  • 19-07-22

As a former Caesars employee...

This is indeed how my equity investment ended up a pennies on the dollar. That said, but for the GQ Bush economy collapse of 2008, things might have worked out and we'd be reading a story about what a visionary Gary was vs this barbarians at the gate cautionary tale....

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  • drew
  • 19-07-22

Very interesting topic

Really liked this book because it covered an interesting topic I would have ever known about without reading it.

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  • Austin Johnson
  • 10-06-22

Almost Perfect

If you liked Barbarians at the Gate, you’ll love this book. This is an impeccably researched telling of one of the most fascinating corporate sagas in decades. The author does an admirable job trying to explain various complex financial concepts - if you don’t have a background in finance you should still read the book, but you may need to rely on Google to grasp some of the more complicated concepts. The author jumps around in the timeline quite a bit, which can be confusing in audiobook format, which is the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. If you read the description and it piques your interest at all buy it - it’s more than worth a credit.

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  • Robert Zavertnik
  • 07-06-22

Meticulously researched

I enjoyed it but would only recommend it to friends deeply interested corporate finance, private equity, or litigation/bankruptcy law because it really gets into the weeds and there are a lot of lawyers and bankers to keep track of.

All in all, quite an accomplishment and would read or listen to other financial history books by Frumes and Indap.

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  • Tomas Dvorak
  • 25-03-22

detailed, current and exciting

I loved this book and story. It is the Barbarians of the 2020s. A great window into the PE world. Relies both on interviews and court documents, and it looks like the authors know how to do both.

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  • tyler wake
  • 25-01-22

The Next "Big Short"

The story and narration give this a blockbuster feel. This is a must read/ listen for people interested in business and economics. I listened over the course of 4 days; it was simply that good.