Ruffin Eyeballing Strip Properties
» filed under Mergers & Acquisitions comments: 23
Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin appeared on local flasher Jon Ralston's reportage to discuss everybody's favorite subject - the Las Vegas casino industry.
In the interview, Ruffin mentions that he has made multiple offers to MGM Resorts International for Beau Rivage and Monte Carlo ($500m each) and numerous offers on the Mirage as well. When pressed, Ruffin plays coy about still having offers in to purchase the Mirage but expresses a strong desire to own the property.
Ruffin also mentions that he will be purchasing a Strip property in 2013.
Any guesses? Other than snatching something from the Borg or MGM, the pickins seem to be somewhat thin... Tropicana? No, they just signed the Hilton Doubletree Deal. Cosmopolitan? Price is too high and they aren't his demographic. Perhaps a Sahara deal has been penciled with Stockbridge if SBE can't get the cash? Stratosphere? LVH? Riviera? Trump? Donald is his best pal but theres no casino there, just empty hotel rooms... perhaps they could build a bridge over the top of Fashion Show Mall? Stratosphere? LVH? Riviera? Hooters? Rio? All good choices and somewhat easy targets...
But what about Ballys?
In the latest episode of the Vegas Gang, while discussing the Bill's/Drai's renovation project, Dr. Dave floated a balloon that Caesars should sell Ballys and use the proceeds to bolster The Quad, Harrah's and Flamingo's aging and funky assets as "odds" behind the Linq project. A very interesting thesis, indeed.
The Ballys asset is non-essential in the Caesars portfolio (for now) and would require a thorough re-thinking if it is to maximize on all that wasted Strip front square footage. It is doubtful that there are any deep pocketed bozos willing to take such a chance these days, even if the location is the one of best in the world. Thus, the property would probably continue to limp along as is for a while with Caesars penciling in the possibility of purchasing it back when thorough demolition would make financial sense.
But when does financial sense drive anything Caesars does? With roughly $20B in debt, the only way out of their hole is either bankruptcy restructuring or going public again when the market ends and Vegas is showing boomtown signs again.
Every mouse loves cheddar... what will Phil Ruffin buy?
Big thanks to Detroit1051 for the Tweet tip.
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