Treasure Island sold to Ruffin

  The R-J’s veteran gaming reporter Howard Stutz is one of the best in the business and easily the No. 1 casino writer in Nevada. He has more sources than anyone, and he works them nonstop.

  His piece in today’s paper about Phil Ruffin, at right, buying Treasure Island from sputtering MGM Mirage is one of the most important business stories of the year. If the deal goes through at $775 million, MGM will be in a solid position to grow stronger in very tough financial times in 2009.

  That sale could mean the preservation of hundreds of jobs. The stock price is bound to get off the canvas as well.

  Ruffin is one of the least known but sharpest guys to do business on the Strip. He sold the dilapidated Frontier property to Elad Group for $1.24 billion in 2007, right before the Strip hit the skids. Now he’s back with a very good property in a prime location. And I imagine he saved a bundle on his taxes.

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