Tag Archives: business news

Lots of Las Vegas Casinos for Sale

If so, maybe now’s your time– IF you have the scratch!  

With Las Vegas continuing to face a stiff economic recession – primarily based on a sharply declining gambling economy where fewer players are wagering less money and staggering, near nation-leading unemployment – it’s significantly reduced a majority of Las Vegas-based company revenues and their ability to refinance their debt.   

Caught up in the financial maelstrom are Station Casinos owners, and brothers, Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta.  Station, which mainly runs casinos targeted toward residents of the Las Vegas area and has been struggling with managing debt ever since it finished going private in November 2007,  are now embarked on a quick mission to sell their 14 casinos in Las Vegas while keeping a minority 46 percent stake in four others. 

Their plan was disclosed last Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the Las Vegas-based casino operator calls for mortgage lenders holding debt to become the new majority owners of the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, Palace Station, Boulder Station and Sunset Station. Station Casinos Inc. said the outstanding debt secured by the four casinos was $1.8 billion. 

Palace Station and Red Rock are the company’s two largest properties, with more than 1,800 hotel rooms combined. 

Station said the reorganization plan was filed with a federal bankruptcy court in Reno, Nev., where the privately held company’s case was originally filed last July. 

Under the new proposed plan, the Fertitta brothers will pay $85.6 million in cash for a 50 percent stake in the four casinos, and then sell a 4 percent share to Colony Capital LLC. 

The Fertittas would continue to manage the properties under a long-term deal, according to the plan. 

The casinos to be sold include Santa Fe Station, Texas Station, Fiesta casinos in two Las Vegas suburbs, and 50 percent stakes in Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa Casino and Aliante Station, among other properties. Seven of the properties do not have hotel rooms. 

The company said it hopes a judge will approve its plan by this summer so the casino operator can emerge from bankruptcy before the end of the year. 

Marc Falcone, chief financial officer for Fertitta Gaming, said the Fertittas would also try to buy the assets to be sold. 

As would be expected, rivals backed with significant financial resources are entering the Las Vegas casino feeding frenzy, aggressively pursuing the acquisition of the diminished valued assets.

One such rival, Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corporation, reiterated its interest in buying all of Station’s casinos.

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Harrah’s Entertainment Plans to Buy Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has filed an application to purchase the struggling Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said Monday. 

The casino giant has formed a new subsidiary, PHW Las Vegas LLC, with the intent of taking over the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. PHW filed the application to casino regulators last week, a person at the Control Board said. 

The Las Vegas Planet Hollywood is a separate entity from the restaurant chain, which has locations around the world. 

Harrah’s began pursuing Planet Hollywood in September when it purchased a $140 million piece of Planet Hollywood’s $870 million debt for an undisclosed amount from Goldman Sachs Group. 

A person close to the situation said that it appears the slice of debt Harrah’s purchased could give the casino giant enough influence over the other lenders to control the property. 

Harrah’s controls six contiguous Las Vegas casinos just north of Planet Hollywood. Those properties are across the street from City Center, the $8.5 billion MGM Mirage resort has been opening all this week in Las Vegas. 

In an email to employees last week, Harrah’s Chief Executive Gary Loveman reportedly said the location made the distressed Planet Hollywood an attractive acquisition. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. currently manages the project’s hotel and also has a minority stake in Planet Hollywood. 

Restaurateur Robert Earl, who developed the movie-themed Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, and investment manager Bay Harbour Management acquired the Las Vegas property in 2007.

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Hey, Steve Wynn, can you spare a dime?

As most everyone, casino mogul Steve Wynn has gone through some cash woes this year, what with his impending divorce and bad stock performance.  But things are apparently looking up for Stevie… 

Last week Wynn Resorts, Ltd. announced it will pay its shareholders a $4-per-share dividend on Dec. 3, which will earn Steve Wynn, the casino operator’s founder and largest shareholder, a payment of at least $88.6 million- that’s M-I-L-L-I-O-N. 

Yep, the company’s board of directors authorized the special one-time $4 payment for shareholders of record as of Nov. 19.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wynn, the chairman and chief executive officer, holds more than 22.15 million of the company’s 123.11 million outstanding shares. 

The company, which operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Wynn Macau, is building the $650 million Encore at Wynn Macau, and announced it was starting a regular cash dividend program next year.  It expects to pay 20 cents per share dividend in the first quarter. 

The one-time $4 payment will reportedly cost Wynn Resorts more than $492 million. 

The rich get richer.

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Study Says Business Travel to Las Vegas Stimulates the Economy

At a time when companies are scaling back travel and attended costs, a new study shows it pays to invest in travel. It’s not only a win for those businesses, but a win for Las Vegas, which banks on those travel dollars. 

Las Vegas is not only the entertainment capital of the world, but it has long been the top destination for conventions, meetings, and trade shows which brings in an estimated $8 billion annually. That is until now. 

“When economy took a dip and there was some bashing of meetings by some federal officials, it really hurt Las Vegas,” said Cathy Tull with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. 

Las Vegas saw a 26-percent drop in convention travelers this year compared to last. But there’s hope things will soon turn around, thanks to a new study. 

Adam Sacks of Oxford Economics, a global research firm, has established a clear link between business travel and business growth. “For every dollar a company spends on business travel, incrementally that drives $12.50 in revenue and almost $4 in profits,” he said. 

The study simply states that business travel will stimulate the American economy. The study also points out that for the average U.S. business that does not travel in the first year sees a 17-percent drop in profits. 

And that’s not a chance business owners like Mike Weeks gamble on. “When you specialize like I do in personal injury attorneys and you are looking for the premiere firms, you have to go where they go,” he said. Weeks owns an advertising company and is in Las Vegas for a four-day convention to network and stimulate business– which is what the LVCVA says corporations should keep doing in this economy.

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Nevada Tells California: “Kiss Your Assets Goodbye”

The Nevada Development Authority is on their annual search and destroy hunt, or so it seems, to lure recession-strapped California businesses to Nevada, away from having to settle for IOUs from the government as paycheck substitutes. 

Nevada is now waging a vicious $300,000 advertising blitz, themed “Kiss Your Assets Goodbye,” complete with flying pigs and chimps, that pits Nevada’s lack of personal and corporate income tax and its lower workers’ compensation insurance rates against California’s hearty tax structure and extensive regulatory regime. 

On top of the chimp spots, there’s a print ad claiming California will be more pro-business when pigs fly, as well as a radio spot with an actor portraying a businessman getting the shaft, as the announcer says:  “We’re all learning to bend over and kiss our assets goodbye.” 

Not relying on ads alone to shill new business, there’s also a public relations campaign deploying social-networking Web sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In- and even an original pop song that will air on YouTube.com later this week. 

Some, though, are going fighting bonkers over the stomach-churning campaign, refusing to run the ads. KABC, the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, California has refused to air the ads, saying they don’t want to encourage businesses to leave California. 

The campaign will run for 90 days, after which the authority will develop and launch a new campaign.  They have $700,000 more in the Nevada budget to spend on advertising in the next 10 months.

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Camelot Selects Las Vegas for New Film Studio Complex

Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc. has selected Las Vegas as the site for its next studio project. Negotiations for the acquisition of the proposed studio site are underway. Further details are expected to be released during this quarter. 

“Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world,” Camelot Chairman Robert Atwell stated. “It already is one of the top states in film and television production activity. We feel it is the perfect place to build a modern, state of the art, major studio complex.” 

Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc. has three major divisions: Camelot Film Group, Camelot Studio Group and Camelot Production Services Group.

Camelot is building a different kind of motion picture studio infrastructure by redefining the development, financing, production, and distribution process.

For information about Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc., please visit www.camelotfilms.com

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Starbucks to ‘Barbucks’?

Today, some Starbuck lattes will take on a whole new distinctive flavor offering- – brewskies and wine.  

Adding to the intrigue, their distinctive logo is also being dropped- and even their name. 

Three Seattle Starbuck stores are closing today and being rebranded as “15th Avenue Coffee & Tea,” in an effort to give their profits a boost in a tepid economy, according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. 

The haute coffee general is attempting to use these pilot stores as a means to craft methods to get closer to their dwindling customer base.  More than just offering liquor options, they are also expanding their service mix to include art events and poetry reading.  Anything goes to bring in the business.

It’s anticipated that if this pilot test is successful, Starbucks around the U.S. will soon take on a whole new look and feel.

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Las Vegas Takes One Step Closer to Hollywood, Planning Video Manufacturing Plant

Before you get the impression that Las Vegas businesses are closing down and moving out enmasse because of our sour economy, please reconsider.  Apparently, some businesses considering a move to Las Vegas are not giving up JimJannard2on the desert ship just yet.  Case in point is Red Digital Cinema, the manufacturer of the highly touted, leading cutting edge technology red camera, whose high-tech movie production equipment has been used to shoot “Angels and Demons” and many other movies.

Red Digital founder and CEO Jim Jannard has been talking to the Clark County Commission and apparently they are all ears about his plan to manufacture his cameras at an 80-acre site in the far southwest valley of Las Vegas, and to build aJimJannard sound studio there as well, along with homes for himself and others like him who work in the movie industry.   In fact, the commission has already recently voted approval of some zoning changes for the project, clearing the initial building hurdle. 

The Nevada Development Authority, which works to attract businesses to Southern Nevada, helped Jannard to find the 80 acres and is assisting Red Digital Cinema in completing the paperwork required by local governments. 

A member of Red Digital Cinema’s board of directors told the commission a week ago that the business complex, when completed, will employ from 1,000 to 2,000 people. 

Those words are more than mere hope and boastful bravado.  Jannard  has a long history of success.  In 1975 he found Oakley Inc., the company famous for its sunglasses and eyewear.  Forbes magazine last year estimated Jannard has about $3 billon in assets.

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Las Vegas Buying Spree Led to General Growth Properties $27.3 Billion Downfall

Long predicted and now a reality, General Growth Properties has finally collapsed under nearly $27.3 billion in debt, much of it attributed to a Las Vegas property buying spree. 

In Las Vegas, General Growth and its subsidiaries own three malls on the Las Vegas Strip; retail, residential and office real estate in Summerlin; and two regional malls for locals- Meadows and Boulevard malls.  Strip properties are the Fashion Show mall, Grand Canal Shoppes, and the Shoppes at the Palazzo.  Their Summerlin holdings include The Hughes Corporation, which owns the stalled-in-construction Summerlin Centre retail, office and residential development.

The Chicago-based real estate investment trust on Thursday filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York federal court, leaving judges, lawyers and creditors haggle over holdings in about 200 complex properties in 22 states, including pending cases for 360 separate entities, including at least 16 with Las Vegas connections. 

The malls will continue to operate during bankruptcy proceedings, which experts say could drag on for years.

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Business Booms for M Resort in Las Vegas Valley

Anthony Marnell III opened his new $1 billion M Resort property in Henderson, Nevada on March 1 and Las Vegas Backstage Access was there and wrote on it.  The resort was swamped with 4,000 guests on opening night, forcing many guest to park their cars on the dirt just to get in.  

Attendance continues to surge.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that 20,000 people, lured by the promise of $10 in free slot play, signed up for their slot club in the first two day.    Other guests swamp the two eateries, the Red Cup Café and the Vig Deli.  Table games, at least the $10 ones, are generally packed with clients, even during the week. 

Encouraged by the results, Marnell has expanded his 1,800-member work force by 250 people.  That’s a 14 percent increase in a down economy.

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Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Delays Convention Center Renovations

An $890 million planned Las Vegas Convention Center renovation that was once deemed to be vital for the Las Vegas tourism industry and economy is very likely to be put on official hold. lasvegasconventioncenter

On Thursday, the LVCVA said they would seek to suspend the project at least to the middle of 2010. 

LVCVA chairman and Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman called the delay practical, sighting the declining room tax revenue in Clark County, the authority’s primary income source, and other economic declines. 

The original convention center expansion proposal called for dramatic upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s façade and common spaces.  It would have increased the gross square footage from 3.2 million square feet to 3.8 million square feet that would have increased critical high demand convention areas including available meeting spaces, restaurants, food service, and taxi spaces. 

Jeremy Aguero of the economics research firm Applied Analysis said the suspension is an unfortunate reflection of the state of the economy.  In 2007, he prepared a report that said without improvements to the convention center, Las Vegas would lose $5 billion in convention-related economic activity. 

Las Vegas is the nation’s top location for trade shows and conventions.  It hosts 44 of the nation’s top 200 conventions and tradeshows, according to Tradeshow Week magazine.  Orlando is a distant second with 24. 

Goodman says he’s hopeful that work on the convention center renovation can resume in 2010.

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Michael Jackson Expected To Announce $10 Million Performance Deal on March 5

Michael Jackson has reportedly returned to London yesterday to launch his comeback.  The 50-year-old debt-ridden King of Pop, who has been living in Las Vegas for the better part of two years while entertaining many performance offers, is scheduled to make a “special announcement” March 5 at The 02 Arena in London.  michael-jacskon2

Jackson will reportedly perform 10 concerts for a reported $10 million.  

The Los Angeles-based AEG Live, who operates The O2, has reportedly booked the deal.  If the shows are well-received and attended, and Jackson can make the commitments, the deal could extend to a total of 20 to 30 performances, at up to $1 million per show. 

AEG also has a strong Las Vegas connection.  Could it be that he will perform here too?

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$1 Billion M Resort Grand Opening in Las Vegas

M-irage, M-andalay Bay, and M-GM Grand…M Resort Opens

And now – drum roll, please – a brand new Las Vegas “M”:   At 10 p.m. on Sunday, M-arch 1, the M-arnell family rolled their economic dice,  threw caution to the wind, as their 1,800 happily employed employees officially opened their new doors to 4,000 eager guests.   Opening fanfare included a fireworks and water and fire show to highlight their $1 billion M Resort and Casino grand opening.   Actually, it’s not even located in Las Vegas but on South Las Vegas Boulevard in Henderson, Nevada about 9 miles south of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on the Strip.  The latest star to the Vegas resort landscape is being promoted as the best sta-cation destination for Las Vegas Valley locals and visitors that want to get off the well-traveled Las Vegas casino corridor.  

The first feature visitors to The M Resort casino floor will notice is the natural lighting.  That’s right – there are skylights on the casino floor that shine the Las Vegas sun down on the 92,000 square feet of video poker, slot machines and gaming tables including the M Resort’s own Jewelry Box Slots.  

Each of the 390 guest rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible Strip and desert views.  And unlike most Strip hotels, the M Resort offers free resort wide wi-fi, in-room iPod docking stations and nightly turn-down service. 

M Resort OpensTheir 100,000-square-foot pool is incredible, providing a feeling of being in a canyon. 

Guests may also indulge in the luxuriating Organic Oasis Wrap at Spa Mio, dine at Marinelli’s Italian restaurant (one of nine restaurants) and enjoy a concert at the Villaggio Del Sole or in the Ravello lounge.  From the Hostile Grape wine cellar to the Babycakes Artisan Bakery to the 60,000 square feet of meeeting space – the M Resort is sure to have a taste that will entice you to stay.

 The M Resort come late fourth quarter 2009 will be joined in Las Vegas by the new $2.9 billion planned Fountainebleau resort and the $8.6 billion CityCenter project.

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Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel Prepares for Strong 2010

hardrockThe Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas recently topped off its 15-story, 374-room hotel tower, part of their $750 million expansion project.  The tower is expected to open this December and feature eight spa villas on the main level with direct access via walkway to the Hard Rock Hotel’s Beach Club swimming pool.  The tower will also boast seven penthouses, each with a different theme.

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