Blackstone has completed the previously announced $4.25bn acquisition of the real estate assets of the Bellagio from MGM Resorts International.
Following the confirmation, the real estate investment trust has subsequently entered into a joint venture alongside MGM that sees each represented 95 per cent to five per cent respectively.
As part of the transaction which was first announced last month, MGM has leased the property from the joint venture and continues to manage, operate and be responsible for all aspects of the property on a day-to-day basis.
The company is to sign a long-term lease and continue to be responsible for all operations and capital expenditures of the Bellagio, with the joint venture owning the property and receiving annual rent payments of $245m.
This deal marks a continuation of MGM’s asset light strategy, coming at the same time as an affiliate of Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin entering a definitive agreement to acquire Circus Circus Las Vegas for $825m.
The purchase price will comprise $662.5m paid in cash and a $162.5m note due in 2024, which the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.
Speaking on a conference call regarding the Las Vegas-headquartered organisations latest financial results, Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, said of the strategy: “We recently announced two significant transactions, which form part of our broader asset-light strategy and the shift in our business model away from a capital-intensive real estate business towards a developer, manager and operator of leading gaming, hospitality and entertainment properties.”
It was said that its flagship MGM Grand could be the next Las Vegas Strip casino to be offloaded, with the flurry of activity following news of the sale of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino by Caesars Entertainment in September.
Proceedings from any potential sale would be used to reduce debt as well as reinvest in further opportunities worldwide, including Japan’s impending integrated resort scene.