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Vici takes full ownership of MGM Grand, Mandalay in $1.3B cash sale

Updated December 1, 2022 - 4:45 pm

Casino landlord Vici Properties is taking full ownership of MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay’s real estate, in a nearly $1.3 billion cash sale.

Vici announced Thursday that it reached a deal to purchase financial giant Blackstone’s 49.9 percent stake in the properties, both of which are leased to casino giant MGM Resorts International. The transaction is expected to close early next year.

Vici, which already owns a 50.1 percent stake in the properties, is paying about $1.27 billion in cash and assuming Blackstone’s share of the debt on the resorts.

According to a presentation by Vici, it is assuming 49.9 percent of a $3 billion debt load, or nearly $1.5 billion.

All told, this marks another huge investment by a landlord for casino real estate on the Strip.

Las Vegas has seen a burst of deals the past few years that have shuffled resort property ownership around, with billions of dollars changing hands, albeit to little, if any, visible effect for customers.

Thursday’s announcement is also the latest high-priced buyout on the Strip by Vici, which by all appearances is the biggest property owner in Las Vegas’ famed casino corridor.

‘Two of the largest and highest-quality resorts’

Vici CEO Ed Pitoniak said in a news release Thursday the company is “excited” to increase its investment in “two of the largest and highest-quality resorts in what we believe is the leisure and convention destination with the most compelling future demand outlook.”

Collectively, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay feature more than 18 million square feet of building space with roughly 11,000 rooms, 321,000 square feet of casino space and 3 million square feet of exhibition and meeting facilities. The room count includes Mandalay Bay’s neighboring Delano Las Vegas hotel tower and the Four Seasons hotel inside Mandalay Bay.

The two megaresorts also occupy 226 acres of land.

When the next rent hike kicks in March 1, MGM’s annual rent for the two properties is expected to total around $310 million, according to a news release.

Growth spurts

New York-based Vici was spun off from Caesars Entertainment in 2017 as the casino chain’s main operating unit emerged from bankruptcy. By the end of that year, Vici’s real estate holdings on the Strip consisted of Caesars Palace and Harrah’s.

But the company significantly expanded its holdings in Las Vegas through a pair of corporate buyouts.

Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced in March 2021 that it was selling its properties on the Strip — The Venetian, Palazzo, and The Venetian Expo and Convention Center (formerly Sands Expo and Convention Center) — for about $6.25 billion to Vici and investment giant Apollo Global Management.

Under the transaction, which closed in February, Vici acquired Sands’ real estate for $4 billion.

In August 2021, Vici also announced it was acquiring MGM Resorts’ real estate spinoff in a $17.2 billion deal. As part of the buyout, Vici acquired several MGM Resorts-operated properties along Las Vegas Boulevard including The Mirage, Park MGM, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur.

After the deal closed this spring, Vici said it owned 660 acres along the Strip.

Blackstone, meanwhile, had partnered with MGM’s real estate spinoff on a $4.6 billion deal in early 2020 to acquire MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay and lease the properties back to MGM.

Vici acquired the spinoff’s stake in the joint venture as part of the corporate buyout.

New York-based Blackstone will still have a big presence on the Strip after the latest real estate shuffle is finalized, given its ownership of four other massive, MGM-operated hotels.

It purchased Bellagio’s real estate for $4.2 billion in 2019 and bought Aria and Vdara’s real estate last year for nearly $3.9 billion.

Blackstone also still owns a stake in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ real estate. It purchased the flashy hotel-casino for $1.73 billion in 2014 and sold it for $5.65 billion in a deal that closed this spring.

As part of the transaction, MGM Resorts acquired The Cosmopolitan’s operations for more than $1.6 billion, and New York investment firm Stonepeak and the family office of Andrew and Peggy Cherng, operators of fast-food chain Panda Express, acquired ownership stakes in its real estate.

The Review-Journal is owned by the Adelson family, including Dr. Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Dumont.

This story has been updated to correctly reflect the number of Blackstone’s MGM-operated hotels.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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