Blackstone reportedly seeking to sell Cosmopolitan Las Vegas in $5B deal

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lackstone is again offering the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas for sale, with an asking price of $5 billion or more, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. 

The investment company initially bought the hotel and casino for $1.73 billion in 2014 from Deutsche Bank, which gained ownership through a crisis-related loan default in 2008. Since then, Blackstone has spent more than $500 million on improvements, including completing construction on the top four floors and redesigning over 3,000 guest rooms.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is located just south of the Bellagio, on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard, and consists of two highrise towers. It features 110,000 square-feet of gaming, and 28,000 square-feet of retail and restaurant space, as well as spa and fitness facilities, a theater and convention space.

Reports of Blackstone looking to secure a deal for about $4 billion surfaced in 2019. Interest from big Las Vegas operators, Asian firms or US regional casino companies was expected. The property ultimately remained unsold, despite the opportunity to own a prime-location luxury hotel and casino on the Strip seen as an attractive one by real estate experts.

This time around, Blackstone is reportedly back on track to selling the casino resort, although the $5 billion price means the company is valuing it $1 billion up from two years ago. Apollo Global Management Inc., which has been securing acquisition deals with gambling businesses across the world, would be exploring an offer. Bloomberg further reports that MGM Resorts International could be another potential partner, as property manager, although neither company has so far confirmed this potential interest.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, prices for Las Vegas casinos have continued to rise, as real estate investment trusts purchase properties and split costs with management firms. Blackstone is allegedly seeking a deal in which it would sell the property to a real investment trust (REIT) while retaining operating rights.

Both Apollo and MGM have experience in this field. Apollo is buying the Venetian resort complex in Las Vegas for $6.25 billion in a partnership with REIT Vici Properties Inc.; while MGM has sold casino properties while continuing to manage them. Moreover, MGM has already done business with Blackstone, selling in July two Las Vegas hotels for $3.89 billion.

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