MGM Resorts agrees to sell Bellagio Las Vegas property

MGM Resorts International, the casino operator has now agreed to sell its iconic Bellagio Las Vegas property, and jog on to form a joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, with the deal being worth $4.25bn.

The agreement will see the joint venture acquire the Bellagio real estate, and see them lease it back to a subsidiary of MGM Resorts for initial annual rent of $245m.

MGM Resorts will be receiving a five per cent equity interest in the new joint and cash of approximately $4.2bn. The operator has said that it expects the deal to go through before the end of the year, subject to certain closing conditions.

Meanwhile, MGM Resorts has also entered into agreement to sell its Circus Circus property, also in Las Vegas for $825m. This has been sold to an affiliate named Treasure Island, owned by Phil Ruffin.

The purchase price compromises $662.5m in cash and a $162.5m note due 2024. The MGM Resorts expects the deal to go through in the current quarter, which is subject to certain closing conditions.

MGM Resorts chief executive and chairman, Jim Murren, said the operator will use the proceeds from both deals to “build a fortress balance sheet and return capital to shareholders”.

Murren said: “These transactions enhance the company’s strategic and operational flexibility and reinforce its commitment to targeted new growth opportunities, including securing and investing in one of the integrated resort licenses in Japan and becoming an industry leader in sports betting in the US.

“MGM Resorts has engaged in an exhaustive process to evaluate its owned real estate and remains committed to executing its asset-light strategy in a measured way that maximizes value for its shareholders.

“We remain committed to delivering on our 2020 goals and continue to be on track to achieve our previously announced targets.”

Jon Gray, the president and chief operating officer of Blackstone, added: “As big believers in MGM Resorts and Las Vegas, we are thrilled to partner with MGM to acquire the Bellagio on behalf of our BREIT investors. We look forward to a long and productive partnership with this world-class company.”

Two sale agreements have come as MGM Resorts have continued to expand outside of  their l land-based remit, with the operator’s Roar Digital joint venture with GVC Holdings having last month launched its BetMGM online sports betting and gaming app in New Jersey.

BetMGM have replaced the PlayMGM app which was introduced within the state by MGM in 2017, where it features the new GVC sportsbook platform in addition to a range of traditional casino and poker games previously offered through PlayMGM.

Roar Digital also recently agreed a deal with US sports bar and restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings to jointly deliver sports betting experiences to punters across the country.

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