Harrah's trades $5.5B in debt for new notes, cash

LAS VEGAS (AP) " Privately held casino operator Harrah's Entertainment Inc. says it has exchanged $5.5 billion in debt for about $3.5 billion in new notes and cash in an effort to help pay back its lenders.

The Las Vegas-based company said Thursday that it tendered about 64 percent of its eligible debt with the offer.

The swap gives bondholders who held roughly $5 billion in old notes about $3.4 billion in new notes due in 2018 with higher interest rates.

The company says it also replaced $442 million in bridge loans with $297 million in new notes.

Harrah's has struggled with debt since it was bought out in January 2008.

The company says it ended 2008 with $23 billion in long-term debt.

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