Investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. has been retained to explore a possible sale of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, according to people close to the matter, Bloomberg reported Friday. Numbers out of Las Vegas have shown the tourism industry recovering with McCarran International Airport posting a 10% boost in numbers for November and Nevada gaming revenue approaching $1 billion in December. The Strip itself saw a 5.4% rise to $535.6 million accounting for the lion’s share of casino business. Overall, Las Vegas saw a nearly 3% rise in visitors in 2015 for a total of 42.3 million last year.
The Palms could be the third casino for sale in the rebounding economy.
Although none of the principals would provide comment on the record, the leading news outlet gives details of potential sales of Carl Icahn’s beleaguered Fountainebleau which he scooped up out of bankruptcy for $150 million in 2009, beating out Penn National Gaming’s bid for the half-finished megalith. The Wall Street Journal reported in November that the corporate raider had hired CBRE Group to sell the property. Other reliable reports indicate that the property is expected to fetch about $650 million and a deal could close at any time.
The North Las Vegas Aliante Casino, some 15 miles from the Strip is also reportedly on the market with Apollo Management looking to get out from under it’s investment in the property along with Standard General and TPG Capital who together have a 68% stake in the former Stations Casino property through ALST Casino Holdco LLC.
TPG Capital is also a major stakeholder in The Palms along with Leonard Green & Partners LP. Located about a mile off-strip on West Flamingo Road, the now three-tower, 1,300 room hotel and 95,000 sq ft casino were originally opened in 2001 by the Maloof family who kept a 2% share in the property with an option to increase that again to 20% when they handed over 49% to each of The Palms creditors in 2011. George Maloof Jr. continues to manage the property.
While existing properties may be turning over, there is also new development in Las Vegas with Resorts World Las Vegas, Lucky Dragon, and Alon Las Vegas all scheduled to open within the next few years. A note that World Casino News received last week from Andrew Pascal, founder of Alon Las Vegas mentioned that although ‘macro financial markets’ may be affecting the ability to quickly raise development capital, “the Las Vegas market has never been stronger – record visitation, record revenue. We have the right team, the right idea, the right timing and the right location. We will continue to advance the development and ultimately secure the capital we need,” pointing to another area of the Las Vegas rebound that is showing confidence.