MGM Resorts Agrees To Sell The Mirage Operations To Hard Rock International

Written By Marc Meltzer on December 14, 2021

On M0nday, MGM Resorts announced its intention to sell The Mirage operations to Hard Rock International (Hard Rock). The deal is still pending regulatory approvals, which should happen in the second half of next year.

Hard Rock paid $1.075 billion in cash for the Vegas Strip casino operations. The deal price is subject to customary working capital adjustments. Hard Rock will pick up MGM Resorts’ lease with current landowner VICI Properties, Inc.

The most significant part of the deal comes from the Hard Rock. The company plans to change the Vegas Strip skyline with a guitar-shaped hotel tower.

Not a surprising deal

This isn’t an incredible deal at all. During MGM Resorts’ third-quarter earnings call, CEO Bill Hornbuckle teased that a sale was coming.

“I mentioned in the past that we are happy with the amount of exposure we currently have in Las Vegas. As such, we are currently in the early stages of a process to sell the operations of The Mirage”

Hard Rock purchasing operations of The Mirage isn’t a surprise either. The company has been looking to operate a Las Vegas casino since purchasing the naming rights in 2020.

In October, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen said the company was looking for a Vegas Strip property during the Global Gaming Expo. Allen said the company was not interested in purchasing Planet Hollywood during the gaming conference. This was one of the properties the Hard Rock was rumored to have its eyes on.

Regarding The Mirage sale, Hornbuckle says:

“This transaction is a significant milestone for MGM Resorts, and for Las Vegas…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. “

Get ready for a new Vegas strip skyline

The Hard Rock will share more information on the deal when it closes. However, the company did share one crucial detail about the property.

Similar to MGM Resorts, the Hard Rock will enter into a long-term lease agreement with landowner  VICI Properties Inc. 

In a statement about the purchase Hard Rock says:

Through the acquisition, Hard Rock plans to build an iconic Guitar-shaped Hotel which will be located on the famous Las Vegas Strip.”

If the rendering is accurate to the statement, the new Guitar-sharped hotel tower will stand in front of The Mirage. The iconic volcano that currently occupies this space will likely go away.

You can see the first Hard Rock Guitar-shaped hotel tower in this epic video from Pitbull and Blake Shelton.

MGM Resorts will keep ownership of The Mirage’s name and brand. However, the name won’t change right away. Hard Rock has been licensing “The Mirage” name for three years. Eventually, The Mirage will become something akin to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The Volcano at The Mirage currently operates at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, and 11 pm nightly. Enjoy it while you can.

MGM moving focus south

Before selling operations at The Mirage, MGM Resorts purchased the operations of The Cosmopolitan. In essence, the casino located south of The Mirage will replace it in MGM Resorts’ portfolio.

The focus on the southern half of the Vegas Strip makes sense for MGM Resorts.

The company operates Park MGM, New York-New York, and MGM Grand near T-Mobile Arena. The walk from Aria and The Cosmopolitan isn’t too far.

MGM Resorts also operates casinos near Allegiant Stadium. Mandalay Bay and Luxor are the hubs of activity before and after Raiders games and concerts at the stadium.

Excalibur sits in between both venues. During the recent Morgan Stanley Virtual Global Consumer & Retail Conference, MGM Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Halkyard said the company is considering doing seven acres of land at Excalibur.

Photo by Rendering courtesy of Hard Rock International
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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