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MGM Resorts International sells Mirage operations for over $1 billion

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Mirage, the iconic resort that helped usher in Las Vegas’ modern era of ultra-luxury, is being sold by MGM Resorts International to Hard Rock International, the companies said Monday. 

 Hard Rock will pay $1.075 billion in cash to acquire  The Mirage operations in a deal slated to close in the second half of 2022, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions. 

 This deal prefaces a rebranding of the resort – which first opened in 1989 – as well as a change of the Las Vegas skyline. 

 As new operators, Hard Rock announces plans to build a guitar-shaped hotel on 77 acres of land and rename it Hard Rock Las Vegas, featuring the company’s signature hotel style. company to the Strip. Renders of the  Hard Rock property also show the new blue and white textured resort and the name “The Mirage” at the top of the resort being replaced with “Hard Rock”. 

 MGM Resorts said it will keep The Mirage’s name and brand and grant it to Hard Rock for up to three years while finalizing plans to rename the property. 

“Mirage is how the casino, more than any other, inspired  Las Vegas today. The fact that the franchise is disappearing makes a lot of sense,” said David Schwartz, UNLV mediator, and game historian. 

 “The Mirage is really the model for almost everything that has been built in Las Vegas since 1989,” says Schwartz, noting that he combines Caesars Palace’s thematic elements with resort aspects. of The International, now The Westgate. “It really moved the city and its resorts forward. “

Jim Allen, President of Hard Rock International, said the company “is honored to welcome  3,500 members of the Mirage team to the Hard Rock family”. 

 Hard Rock,  owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has announced that it will sign a long-term lease with VICI Properties, which announced a $17.2 billion deal in August to purchase The Mirage property at MGM Growth Properties. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2022. 

 “This transaction is an important milestone for MGM Resorts and  Las Vegas,” said MGM President and CEO, Bill Hornbuckle. on Monday. “As a member of the team that opened The Mirage in 1989, I know how special it is and how it represents a huge opportunity for the Hard Rock group. I want to thank all of our Mirage employees, who have consistently provided world-class entertainment and gaming experiences to our customers for over three decades. » History 


 Originally developed by Steve Wynn on the former Castaways site, The Mirage opened in November 1989. It helped change the face of Las Vegas by ushering in a new era dominated by built-in megafortresses that extend far beyond casinos, helping cement a plan that all other businesses will soon do. follow. 

 MGM then acquired the resort in May 2000 by purchasing Wynn`s Mirage Resorts for $4.4 billion. 

 Although the resort was built using so-called junk bonds, the resort paid off faster than most and replaced it with traditional low-interest loans. This has helped attract billions of new investments into Las Vegas, helping to make the city what it is today. 

 The resort has quickly established itself as one of the top entertainment destinations thanks to offerings such as Siegfried and Roy’s illusions and white tiger action, a controversial dolphin habitat, and an eye-catching volcano show on Las Vegas Boulevard. 

 Schwartz says that with The Mirage, Wynn showed three key things that have shaped  Las Vegas today: A resort his scale, with 29 floors and more than 3,000 rooms, can be built from just one bang – something that has never been done in Las Vegas; how can you pay for it and sell Wall Street on it; And that’s what tourists want. 

 “It proves that people are visiting it and that there is a market for that kind of resort, which has never happened in Las Vegas before because people have never seen anything like it. before,” said Schwartz. 

 Leads to a Deal 

 The announcement came just over a month after Hornbuckle told investors MGM was looking to sell the complex as part of a strategic move to allocate capital and look to diversify diversification of the company’s shares, which made Le Mirage the “obvious choice” for sale, he said. 

 MGM operates nine other resorts on the Strip and will soon add The Cosmopolitan to its portfolio, after agreeing to pay $1.6 billion for resort operations in October. 

 “We, I’ve got enough  Las Vegas,” he told investors on a November call. 

 As for Hard Rock, the company isn’t shy about sharing its desire to acquire properties on the Strip. 

 Allen told Bloomberg in 2019 that Hard Rock was looking to buy properties along the iconic corridor. The company also bought the rights and naming rights to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in May 2020. And at the Global Gaming Expo in October of this year, Allen told reporters they were still waiting for an opportunity. fit. 

“We recognize that Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the United States,” he said. “If there is this opportunity, then yes, we will be interested. 

 Thanks to Hard Rock, the Seminole Tribe will become the third tribal company to enter the gaming world in Las Vegas, but the first on the Strip. 

 The San Manuel Mission Indian Band may receive final approval from gaming regulators this week as part of the tribe’s decision to acquire The Palms. And Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, operated by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority of Connecticut, manages the casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. 

 Alan Feldman, a distinguished fellow with the UNLV International Game Institute, said he expected more tribal ownership as part of a broader diversification of owners and operators along the Strip. 

 “That’s because the game is growing nationally. It continues to be accepted on an increasingly widespread basis,” he said. 

 Feldman, a former MGM executive who moved to Las Vegas to help open  Mirage as a public affairs adviser, said he would be saddened to see the Mirage brand disappear. 

 “But let us not play with ourselves.  Hard Rock is a big international brand,” Feldman said. “And the visual impact of one of the guitar hotels is a huge addition to the Las Vegas skyline.”

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