MGM Sells Bellagio to Trust; Will Continue to Operate

MGM Resorts International announced on Tuesday that it is selling the famed Bellagio fountains on The Las Vegas Strip—and the building that goes with them—to the real estate investment trust Blackstone Group at a valuation of $4.25 billion. The casino operator will retain a 5 percent stake and will lease back and continue to operate the property. Blackstone already owns Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

A press release from MGM calls the deal a “landmark transaction for the gaming and entertainment industry.”

The company is also selling Circus Circus to the owners of Treasure island for $825 million. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murrin said the sales would “build a fortress balance sheet and return capital to shareholders.” He said the goal was to free up cash, offering MGM flexibility to operate in new and different ways—including sports betting and expanding to Osaka, Japan.

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The company has already moved a number of its Strip assets into MGM Growth Properties, another real estate investment trust.

MGM Resorts describes itself as a creator of “immersive, iconic experiences” with a portfolio of 30 hotel and destination gaming offerings expanding throughout the U.S. and around the world.

A Storied History

Bellagio has gone through many changes in its more than 20-year history. Casino developer Steve Wynn and the company that later became known as Mirage Resorts opened the property in 1998 on the site of the former Dunes Hotel as an homage to Bellagio, Italy. The Cirque du Soleil production O set up shop there for the opening. In 2000, Mirage merged with MGM and joined Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and Park MGM in the portfolio.

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