American casino operator MGM Resorts International has reportedly received unanimous consent from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to complete its planned $2.1 billion purchase of a 50% stake in the CityCenter Las Vegas development.
According to a Wednesday from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the envisioned proposition would see the Las Vegas-headquartered firm buyout Emirati investments specialist Dubai World so as to take full ownership of the 76-acre downtown complex that hosts the 4,000-room Aria Resort and Casino as well as the four-star Vdara Hotel and Spa. The source detailed that the casino giant then plans to offload both properties to American private equity management enterprise The Blackstone Group Incorporated for about $3.9 billion before leasing them back at an annual rent of $215 million.
The newspaper reported that this second proposition forms part of MGM Resorts International’s five-year plan to lighten its asset load, improve liquidity and bump up its balance sheet so as to become more attractive to shareholders and keep its position as one of the world’s premiere casino operators. Should both parts of the deal be finalized and the Nevada firm will purportedly be left owing only the 250-room MGM Springfield property outright with the remainder of its business hosted within venues under the control of the Vici Properties Incorporated real estate investment trust (REIT).
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Nevada Gaming Commission regulator is now expected to consider the CityCenter Las Vegas arrangement at its next meeting on September 23 with MGM Resorts International said to be eager to close the initial phase of its larger plan before the end of the month. The source also explained that the 16.8 million sq ft Las Vegas complex opened in December of 2009 and moreover features the 392-room Waldorf Astoria with its 225 condominiums, the 674-unit Veer Towers apartment complex and the 500,000 sq foot Crystals shopping mall.
Looking further ahead and Jonathan Halkyard, Chief Financial Officer for MGM Resorts International, reportedly told the Nevada Gaming Control Board that his company is additionally planning to offload its MGM Springfield property to a REIT by the end of this year pending approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board furthermore used yesterday’s meeting to recommend that the registration held by Dubai World and its Infinity World Holdings subsidiary, which has a stake in the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort hotel, be terminated. This latter firm’s President and Chief Operating Officer, William Grounds, purportedly revealed that his company would now be saying farewell to the American casino market in favor of emerging markets in areas such as Africa.