Black Gaming plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Black Gaming LLC, the Las Vegas-based owner and operator of three casinos in Mesquite, said Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows it to continue operations. The company said it reached an agreement with some of its creditors in advance of the bankruptcy petition.

Robert R. “Randy” Black Sr., South Point owner Michael Gaughan and Anthony Toti are investors in the reorganized company.

Black will remain chief executive officer. Either he, parties designated by Gaughan or others will contribute $17 million in cash for 94 percent of the equity in the reorganized company. Black Gaming owns the CasaBlanca, Virgin River and Oasis resorts in Mesquite. In a statement, CEO Black said the company is generating cash flow but has too much debt.

General Growth gets creditors’ approval to restructure loans

General Growth Properties Inc., the second-largest U.S. mall owner, has won approval from creditors and a federal court to restructure loans totaling $11.6 billion, according to a lawyer.

The company on Tuesday won confirmation from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan of its plan to extend the maturities of seven loans totaling at least $1.3 billion after creditors agreed to the terms.

That amount was in addition to $10.25 billion in debt that Gropper said on Dec. 15 that Chicago-based General Growth could reorganize in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, bringing the total to $11.6 billion, said Anup Sathy, a Kirkland & Ellis LLP lawyer representing General Growth.

Tuesday’s ruling leaves five loans covering 24 properties, including malls in Las Vegas and Louisiana, which the company wants lenders to agree to alter, Sathy said.

Gropper has scheduled another hearing for Tuesday. General Growth is continuing to negotiate with lenders and loan servicers to add more properties into the restructuring plan, Sathy said.

In Las Vegas, General Growth owns the Meadows, Boulevard and Fashion Show malls, the Shoppes at Palazzo and the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.


Citigroup, Wells Fargo repay government relief money

Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday that they repaid $45 billion the giant banks got from the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the midst of the financial crisis last year, freeing them from government restrictions on compensation.

Citi said it repurchased $20 billion of TARP trust preferred securities it had sold to the Treasury Department under TARP’s Capital Purchase Program.

Citi also ended a large loss-sharing program with the government, which canceled $1.8 billion of trust preferred securities that were part of the $7.1 billion Citi paid for the extra support.

The Treasury Department continues to own 7.7 billion shares of Citi common stock, worth more than $20 billion. It was planning to sell roughly $5 billion of that earlier this month, but backed off after Citi shares fell under pressure from a huge offering of new stock by the bank.

Exiting TARP means Wells Fargo won’t have to pay $1.25 billion in future annual preferred-stock dividends. However, Treasury continues to hold warrants to purchase approximately 110 million shares of Wells common stock at an exercise price of $34.01 a share.


Personal incomes, spending increase during November

Personal incomes rose in November at the fastest pace in six months, while spending posted a second straight increase. But economists caution that the gains remain too weak to sustain a strong economic recovery.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that personal incomes rose 0.4 percent in November, helped by a $16.1 billion increase in wages and salaries. It reflected the drop in unemployment that occurred last month.

The rise in incomes helped bolster spending, which rose 0.5 percent in November. Both the income and spending gains were slightly less than economists had expected.

The 0.4 percent rise in incomes followed a 0.3 percent October gain. It was the best showing since a 1.5 percent spurt in May, a month when incomes were boosted by government payments and tax relief from the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

The 0.5 percent rise in consumer spending reflected the surprisingly strong 1.3 percent jump in retail sales that occurred during November — a boost that came from shoppers crowding malls seeking deep discounts over the Thanksgiving weekend.


Ford moves closer to selling Volvo to China’s Geely Group

Ford Motor Co. said it is moving closer to selling its Swedish Volvo brand, even though the U.S. automaker is in far better financial shape than it was when it put the brand up for sale last year.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker said Wednesday that it expects to finalize the sale of Volvo to China’s Geely Group early next year if financing and government approvals fall into place.

Ford did not reveal the amount of Geely’s offer. Auto analyst Matts Carlson estimated the price tag for Volvo at between $2 billion and $2.3 billion.

Ford officially put Volvo on the market in December 2008.


Buffett company continues to reduce stake in Moody’s

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s company is continuing to reduce its stake in credit ratings firm Moody’s Corp., but Berkshire Hathaway Inc. still controls about 13 percent of Moody’s stock.

Berkshire sold 87,992 Moody’s shares on Friday. The Omaha-based company revealed the latest sale in documents filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Over the past nine months, Berkshire has significantly reduced its Moody’s holdings. Berkshire held 48 million shares in March and reduced that stake to 31.8 million as of last week.

JPMorgan chief will testify as part of collapse investigation

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., will be among the first witnesses to testify before a commission investigating last year’s financial collapse.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO John Mack also have agreed to testify at next month’s inaugural hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Chairman Phil Angelides said.

Bank of America Corp.’s new CEO, Brian Moynihan, has been invited and is expected to appear as well, Angelides said.

“We have requested the appearance of key leaders who have been involved in the financial crisis,” Angelides said in a telephone interview. “There’s no question that these institutions were at the center of this storm, not to make any prejudgments about their role in it.”

Commission Vice Chairman Bill Thomas, who also was on the phone call, said the witnesses will be followed by testimony from academics and others over the course of the two-day hearing.

Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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