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Bellagio land for sale? Blackstone possibly looking to capitalize

Updated June 28, 2023 - 11:21 am

A New York real estate and financial management company may be planning to sell some of the land beneath the Bellagio resort, according to a published report.

Blackstone Inc., which bought Bellagio’s land for $4.25 billion nearly four years ago, is considering the sale of half its holdings, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

A Blackstone spokesperson on Tuesday declined comment on the report. MGM Resorts International, which manages the hotel and casino, did not respond to a request for a comment.

But a gaming industry analyst said Tuesday it wouldn’t be surprising for Blackstone to seek a partner.

“This is not the first time we have seen Blackstone explore the opportunity or divest of assets on the Strip,” said Brendan Bussmann, a gaming industry analyst with Las Vegas-based B Global. “We’ve seen it with Mandalay (Bay) and MGM Grand and if they do so, they are just likely looking to capitalize on their previous investment.”

Bussmann said the potential move continues the ebb and flow of the Strip seeing merger and acquisition activity.

“You are now seeing the direct sale position of assets now that some of these companies have moved to mostly OpCos,” Bussmann said. “Las Vegas remains one of the best growth opportunities in the long term because of the opportunity for expansion in its hospitality assets as the sports and entertainment capital of the world. Blackstone may be looking to just capitalize on their previous investment now.”

Blackstone sold The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in 2021 and agreed in December 2022 to sell its half interest in the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts to Vici Properties Inc., affiliated with Caesars Entertainment Inc.

The deal, announced last month, called for Vici to pay around $1.27 billion in cash to Blackstone and assume Blackstone’s share of the debt on the resorts, both of which are leased to MGM Resorts International.

Vici, the largest landowner on the Strip, has a portfolio that includes Caesars Palace, Harrah’s and The Venetian, as well as several MGM Resorts-operated properties including Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York and Park MGM.

While real estate transactions involve the exchange of billions of dollars, casino customers see little difference in the casino and hotel operations, which are managed by licensed gaming companies.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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