MGM Seeks Joint Venture Partners for MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay

  • MGM still has 13 properties left in its portfolio
  • Has already said that it is looking to sell MGM Grand by the end of the year
  • New reports suggest that Mandalay Bay is also seeking an investor
MGM lion
MGM Resorts International and MGM Growth Properties LLC are seeking an investor for a joint venture that would own both MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two casino resorts up for grabs

MGM Resorts International, the company known for its casino resorts in destinations like Las Vegas and Macau, and MGM Growth Properties LLC, a real estate investment trust, are reportedly on the lookout for investors to take ownership of two of its most well-known hotels.

Last month, the company said that it was hoping to have sold MGM Grand in Las Vegas by the end of the year. New talks suggest that a similar deal could be on the cards for its Mandalay Bay casino resort.

the company would instead rent the buildings in order to deliver on their successful casino model

With MGM swapping to an ‘asset-light’ business model, the company would instead rent the buildings in order to deliver on their successful casino model, keeping maintenance and upkeep costs much lower.

MGM hopes that this would allow the company to expand internationally and with new partners. Sports betting is also high on the company’s agenda.

New opportunities

MGM currently operates 13 properties, including several casinos, across the world. If this new model was implemented in all of them, it would see multiple partnerships with investors who would then purchase buildings and lease them back to the resorts.

This flexible model would allow the company to explore new markets, such as Japan and sports betting opportunities in the United States.

Steps to complete this model have already been taken. The company recently sold the Bellagio in a $4.2bn deal to New York-based financial services firm, The Blackstone. The agreement sees the company lease back the property for an initial rent of $245m a year.

Circus Circus, another property in the MGM group, was sold to Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin for $825m.

Flexible financial structure

Speaking to shareholders during the company’s latest earnings call, MGM’s CEO Jim Murren said that the company hoped to find a buyer for MGM Grand by the end of the year. He went on to say that further sales were being evaluated, such as that of CityCentre in Las Vegas, a partnership with investment firm Dubai World.

It comes ahead of the firm’s development in Japan for an integrated resort, possibly in Osaka, which could cost more than $10bn. Murren said that all money raised from the sale of MGM Grand would go towards offsetting current debt while also investing in net growth opportunities.

explore opportunities in the states which have legalized sports betting so far, or could do so in the future

While this may be referring to Japan, MGM has also teamed up with gambling group GVC Holdings to explore the new sports betting industry in America.

By working with the Isle of Man-based company the pair hope to explore opportunities in the states which have legalized sports betting so far, or could do so in the future. There have already been multiple sponsorship deals announced with the NBA and NHL.

In becoming asset-light, the company is better poised to build a “fortress balance sheet” and expand into new markets much quicker than its competitors.