MK-CS040_CAESAR_M_20150112163750Caesars Entertainment Corp. ’s largest unit is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as Thursday, the final gambit of a yearslong attempt to salvage a soured buyout. Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.’s Chapter 11 filing would launch the final stage of Apollo Global Management LLC’s effort to save some of its $1.7 billion investment in the company, which it took private in 2008 with fellow buyout firm TPG. A Chapter 11 petition would follow months of contentious negotiations with creditors, a who’s who of Wall Street investors. The unit’s collection of casinos and hotels, including much of the Las Vegas Strip’s iconic Caesars Palace, is expected to operate normally as it works to persuade a judge to approve a restructuring plan that would transform it into a real-estate investment trust. Eric Seiler, an attorney for the gambling company, told a Delaware corporate law judge Tuesday that Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. would file for bankruptcy “on or about” Thursday. Another person close to the company said it’s possible the filing could come as late as Tuesday, Jan. 20. Mr. Seiler’s comments came after a group of creditors sought Monday to force the unit into bankruptcy through an involuntary Chapter 11 petition. It isn’t clear where the unit will file bankruptcy papers. More