weather icon Mostly Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

MGM Mirage asks shareholders to allow name change

MGM Mirage is asking shareholders to allow the company to change its name to MGM Resorts International.

But company officials were quick to point out Tuesday that the proposed name change does not mean The Mirage is on the market.

The Strip casino giant told shareholders the proposed name reflects the company’s current vision and future growth. MGM Mirage, through its MGM Hospitality Division, has plans for nongaming hotel brands in several international markets, including China, India and the Middle East.

MGM Mirage Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hornbuckle said the company has nearly 16 agreements and letters of understanding signed for different projects using the MGM Grand, Bellagio and Skyloft brands.

"The name change really speaks to a larger agenda in a repositioning of the company," Hornbuckle said. "We will continue to have a growing international presence and international business opportunities."

Hornbuckle said the name change will help with the launch of a new customer loyalty program the company hopes to unveil later this year.

The MGM Grand Tianjin, a 350-room nongaming hotel and the first project under MGM Mirage Hospitality, is expected to open later this year in northern China. Tianjin, a port city with 10 million people, is a gateway city to Beijing.

The company’s first international venture was the MGM Grand Macau, which opened in December 2007.

"MGM Resorts International better represents our company’s growing global presence," company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren told employees Tuesday. "As a truly international company, our name should clearly reflect that.

"This is a significant step and we don’t take it lightly."

The company, originally known as MGM Grand Inc., became MGM Mirage in 2000 after its $5.4 billion purchase of Mirage Resorts, which gave the company ownership of such properties as The Mirage, Bellagio and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss.

MGM Mirage briefly put The Mirage, along with the MGM Grand Detroit, on the market in 2009 as the company dealt with internal corporate financial issues. However, the hotel-casino, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is no longer for sale, said company spokesman Alan Feldman.

MGM Mirage spent more than $100 million to refurbish the resort before its anniversary celebration.

In 2005, the company spent $7.9 billion to acquire Mandalay Resort Group, which gave MGM Mirage ownership of the Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur resorts.

MGM Mirage owns and operates the massive $8.5 billion CityCenter development in a 50-50 joint venture with Dubai World.

"With CityCenter’s opening, our company made international headlines," Murren said. "MGM Grand Macau secured our international status and our company’s hospitality division is working with developers to place our brands of new luxury hotels in many parts of the world."

Company shareholders will be asked to vote on the name change in June.

MGM Mirage shares rose 97 cents, or 6.91 percent, Tuesday to close at $15 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.