Hard Rock to Buy Mirage Casino on Las Vegas Strip for $1.1 Billion

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Hard Rock International has agreed to buy the operations of the Mirage casino on the Las Vegas Strip from

MGM Resorts International

MGM 2.21%

for nearly $1.1 billion with plans to build a giant guitar-shaped hotel on the glitzy boulevard.

The deal with Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is the latest of several financial transactions on the Strip, which was hit hard during the pandemic closures but has seen a tourism rebound. The sale of the Mirage operations is expected to close in the second half of 2022, pending regulatory approvals.

A rendering of Hard Rock’s plans for a guitar-shaped hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.



Photo:

Hard Rock International

The Mirage, known for its tropical theme and erupting volcano on the Strip, opened in 1989.

MGM Resorts,

MGM 2.21%

which bought the casino-hotel in 2000, had announced its plan to sell in November as it focuses on growth areas, such as sports betting and pursuing a new casino in Japan.

“This transaction is a significant milestone for

MGM Resorts,

and for Las Vegas,” said

MGM Resorts

Chief Executive

Bill Hornbuckle.

“As part of the team that opened The Mirage in 1989, I know firsthand how special it is, and what a great opportunity it presents to the Hard Rock team.”

The Mirage real estate is owned by

MGM Growth Properties

LLC, a publicly traded real-estate investment trust that MGM Resorts spun off in 2016. MGM Growth Properties, which owns the real estate of several Strip resorts, is in the middle of a deal to be acquired by

Vici Properties Inc.

for about $17.2 billion, including $5.7 billion in debt. That deal was expected to close in the first half of 2022.

Hard Rock said that it plans to enter into a long-term lease agreement for the Mirage real estate with Vici Properties.

MGM Resorts said it expects net cash proceeds from the sale, after taxes and fees, to be about $815 million. It will keep the Mirage brand and license it to Hard Rock royalty-free for up to three years while Hard Rock completes its rebranding of the property, the company said.

Even as it is selling off the Mirage business, MGM Resorts is still investing some of its energies in the Strip. The company agreed earlier this year to buy the operations of the Cosmopolitan, for about $1.6 billion from

Blackstone Inc.

MGM Resorts’ other Strip casinos include the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Luxor and New York-New York.

Few American cities have been hit harder economically by the coronavirus lockdown than Las Vegas. WSJ visited the city’s famous strip to learn about how Sin City is reopening its casinos. Photo: John Locher/AP

Write to Katherine Sayre at [email protected]

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Appeared in the December 14, 2021, print edition as ‘Hard Rock to Buy Vegas Mirage Casino.’