Sold! MGM Growth Buys MGM Springfield Real Estate for $400m

  • MGM Growth has now acquired all of MGM Resorts’ regional hotel-casino properties
  • The resort operator will pay the REIT an additional $30m rent on top of the master lease
  • CEO Hornbuckle said the transaction was consistent with MGM’s “asset-light” strategy
  • A J.P. Morgan gaming analyst said the sale improves MGM Resorts’ strong liquidity position
  • Hornbuckle recently said MGM is “still very focused” on pursuing its Japan casino resort license
MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts
MGM Growth has now acquired all of MGM Resorts’ regional casino properties following its $400m purchase of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

MGM Resorts to continue operating property

MGM Growth Properties LLC has purchased the real estate assets of MGM Resorts International’s Massachusetts casino property, MGM Springfield, for $400 million in cash.

all of MGM Resorts’ regional properties have now got snapped up by MGM Growth

Announced via an MGM Resorts press release on Tuesday, the Vegas-based organization will remain the operator of the hotel-casino by leasing the property from its real estate investment trust (REIT) MGM Growth. The MGM Springfield sale means all of MGM Resorts’ regional properties have now got snapped up by MGM Growth.

MGM Growth is the landlord of 12 hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, which include Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, New York-New York, Park MGM, and The Mirage. Its property portfolio also includes The Park retail and entertainment district in Sin City, MGM Northfield Park in Northfield, Ohio, Empire Resort Casino in Yonkers, New York, and now MGM Springfield. MGM Resorts is MGM Growth’s sole tenant and, as of March 31, it holds a 42% ownership stake in the REIT.

According to the press release, MGM Resorts’ existing master lease payment to the REIT will get bumped up by $30 million. Out of this amount, $27m stands as the base rent, with the rest being percentage rent. Subject to customary conditions and regulatory compliance, the expected closure of the sale will happen in Q4 of 2021.

Casino company continues “asset-light” commitment

CEO and president of MGM Resorts Bill Hornbuckle said yesterday’s move was in the best interests of shareholders of both the casino operator and the REIT. Hornbuckle added in the press release that the transaction is consistent with MGM Resorts’ “asset-light” strategy.

MGM Resorts embarked on the strategy in 2015 with the birth of MGM Growth. MGM Growth became the industry’s second casino REIT after Penn National Gaming’s 2013 corporate spin-off, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. Caesars Entertainment Corporation joined the REIT party in 2017, when it formed VICI Properties.

Hornbuckle added that the Massachusetts property displayed a robust financial performance, bouncing back from the pandemic with “a record Adjusted Property EBITDAR in the first quarter of 2021.”

move enhances MGM Resorts’ “ability to invest in its land-based casinos or BetMGM”

According to CDC Gaming Reports, J.P. Morgan gaming analyst Joe Greff told investors that the transaction boosts the casino operator’s “already strong liquidity position.” Greff added the move enhances MGM Resorts’ “ability to invest in its land-based casinos or BetMGM and return capital to shareholders.”

Sale gives MGM investment firepower

The sale of MGM Springfield gives MGM Resorts added financial firepower at an opportune time. During a Q1 2021 earnings call on April 29, Hornbuckle stated that MGM was “still very focused” on pursuing its license for a casino resort in Osaka, Japan.

The CEO added that the MGM-ORIX consortium intends to submit its additional request for proposals (RFP) by the submission deadline in July 2021.

In the same earnings call, MGM Resorts chief financial officer Jonathan Halkyard told analysts the casino operator was “just not overly keen or focused on [bidding for an Integrated Resort Casino in Chicago] at this time.” An MGM Resorts bid for the downtown Chicago resort was seemingly in the pipeline. The company was one of three casino operators to respond to the city’s request for information in 2020.

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