On December 13th, MGM Resorts International announced that it has agreed to sell its first mega casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip – the Mirage – to Hard Rock International in a takeover deal worth almost $1.1 billion in cash. The agreement was confirmed in a media release by Bill Hornbuckle, the President and CEO of MGM Resorts, who also thanked the casino resort employees for delivering an excellent entertainment and gamin experience to the venue’s guests for more than 30 years.
The deal will have to receive both regulatory approvals and some other customary closing conditions in order for Hard Rock International to be allowed to acquire the operations of the Mirage.
This is not the first time when the Hard Rock brand is establishing its presence in Las Vegas.
Previously, a Hard Rock Hotel had been operating east of the Las Vegas Strip but in 2018 Brookfield Asset Management to Virgin Hotels that is owned by Richard Branson. Following some expansive renovations, the property started operation as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas earlier in 2021.
For a few years, the gambling and entertainment company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been willing to expand its portfolio to the Strip. In 2020, it reached an agreement with Juniper Capital Partners to acquire the rights to the Hard Rock’s brand and its related trademarks in Las Vegas. After that in May 2020, the company’s Chairman Jim Allen declared the willingness of the operator to enhance its presence in Las Vegas.
The Mirage Has Been among the Iconic Properties on the Las Vegas Strip
On December 13th, when the company revealed it has agreed to buy the Mirage, Chairman Jim Allen explained that Hard Rock International plans to welcome the 3,500 employees of the property to its team. He also explained that Hard Rock is set to enter a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc., a popular real estate investment trust. Mr. Allen shared that at the time when the transition is finalized, Hard Rock Las Vegas would be a fully integrated resort that would welcome tourists and casino guests from all over the world.
The sale of the iconic Las Vegas Strip property is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022. It comes 32 years after the Mirage started operation on November 22nd, 1089. According to some experts, the gambling and entertainment property changed the Las Vegas Strip forever, as it paved the way for more high-end resorts to get established there thanks to the financing of Wall Street.
At the time when the Mirage started operation, Las Vegas still offered affordable hospitality and entertainment options. The cheaper amenities targetted certain crowds but not everyone found them particularly appealing. However, the growth of the gambling sector in the state and the country as a whole made it possible for people to stay engaged with gambling without making a trip to Las Vegas, which, at that point, had nothing special to offer.
Then, the Mirage appeared and changed everything. When it first started operation, it was the biggest casino resort on a global scale and also the most expensive hotel at the time. It also opened its doors with a lot of non-gaming attractions and changed the entire Strip, bringing high-quality services on all levels.
MGM Resorts Sells the Mirage as It Seeks to Deversify Its Portfolio
For the time being, MGM Resorts International has not revealed why it made the decision to sell one of the most iconic properties on the entire Las Vegas Strip.
According to some experts, the decision may have something to do with the Mirage’s location. The property is an outlier among the property of MGM Resorts, and it is currently surrounded by rivals on the north end of the Strip, while other properties of the company are situated in the central and southern part of the Strip.
This is also not the first gambling property sale initiated by MGM Resorts. The company has already disposed of two other properties on the northern part of the Strip – Treasure Island in 2009 and Circus Circus in late 2019. A few months ago, in September, it unveiled plans to acquire the operations of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which is also located in the southern part of the state.
In a news release, CEO Hornbuckle explained that the company was seeking capital allocation. He further noted that MGM Resorts was looking to diversify its operations, as it had enough of Las Vegas. The gambling and entertainment company believed it was high time for its to sell an asset in Las Vegas, with the Mirage becoming that asset.