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MGM Sells The Mirage to Hard Rock for $1 Billion; Guitar-Shaped Hotel Coming Soon

The new owner plans to build a guitar-shaped hotel on the site.

A Las Vegas icon will now have a new operator, and it plans a pretty huge change for the property.

MGM Resorts International  (MGM)  has reached a deal to sell the operations of The Mirage Hotel & Casino to Hard Rock International for $1.075 billion. The company had put the operations of the hotel -- it does not own the underlying real estate -- up for sale just a few months ago.

"Now I've mentioned in the past that we are happy with the amount of exposure we currently have in Las Vegas," Bill Hornbuckle said during the company's third-quarter earnings call. "As such, we are currently in the early stages of a process to sell the operations of the Mirage. Doing so will allow us to maintain our existing Las Vegas exposure while focusing on the complementary and diverse nature of our offerings in our hometown."

MGM currently operates 10 Las Vegas Strip resorts including MGM Grand, Aria, Vdara, Excalibur, Luxor, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, New New-New York, Park MGM, and the Mirage. The underlying property at the Mirage is owned by a separate company, MGM Growth Properties, which itself is currently in the process of being bought by Vici Properties in a $17.2 billion deal, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. 

Mirage is sort of a trade for Cosmopolitan

MGM recently agreed to a $1.65 billion deal to take over operations at the Cosmopolitan, a property Hornbuckle thinks fits its portfolio better than Mirage.

"This quarter, we announced an agreement to acquire the operations of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a high-quality resort with enviable product offerings, strong brand awareness, and complementary customer base making it an ideal addition to our Las Vegas Strip portfolio," he said during the earnings call. "We also believe that the synergies we have identified are highly achievable."

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Hard Rock Has Big Plans for the Mirage

Hard Rock International plans to "build an iconic guitar-shaped hotel" on The Mirage site, according to a press release.

"When complete, Hard Rock Las Vegas will be a fully integrated resort welcoming meetings, groups, tourists, and casino guests from around the world to its nearly 80-acre center-Strip location," said Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen.

The Hard Rock name is used by a variety of companies. Hard Rock International "purchased the licensing and naming rights for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in May 2020 and vowed to bring the iconic brand to the Las Vegas Strip when the right opportunity presented itself," according to the press release.

The Mirage opened in 1989 and it's famed for its 90-foot volcano that sits on the Las Vegas strip as well as housing numerous iconic shows including one featuring the music of The Beatles. MGM will continue to own The Mirage name and brand but will license it to Hard Rock International for a maximum period of three years while the new operator finalizes its plans to rebrand the property.