MGM Selling Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to the Hard Rock for More Than $1b

MGM Resorts announced Monday that it had agreed to sell the iconic Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, to Hard Rock International for $1.075 billion.

After taxes and fees are finalized, MGM estimated that it would receive net cash proceeds of $815 million. As part of MGM's master lease in Las Vegas, the property's annual rent will also be reduced by $90 million.

Hard Rock is currently working on plans to rebrand the property into a guitar-shaped, music-themed hotel reminiscent of many of the brand's other locations, according to multiple reports. The brand will license the Mirage name for the next three years while the redevelopment is finalized.

"We are honored to welcome the Mirage's 3,500 team members to the Hard Rock family," said Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen. "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."

The Mirage
The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas has been sold by MGM Resorts to Hard Rock International, with plans to rebrand the resort into a guitar-shaped, music-themed hotel. Here, the Mirage can be seen in 2009. George Rose/Getty

Bill Hornbuckle, the CEO of MGM, called the finalized deal "a significant milestone for MGM Resorts, and for Las Vegas."

"As part of the team that opened the Mirage in 1989, I know firsthand how special it is, and what a great opportunity it presents to the Hard Rock team," Hornbuckle continued.

"This announcement marks the culmination of a series of transformational transactions for MGM Resorts during the last several years," added MGM chairman of the board Paul Salem.

"The monetization of our entire real property portfolio, together with the addition of CityCenter and our agreement to acquire The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, will position the company with a fortress balance sheet, premier portfolio, and significant financial resources to pursue our strategic objectives."

The transaction will likely close in the second half of 2022, according to a press release on the deal.

One of the most iconic hotels in Las Vegas, the Mirage's upcoming metamorphosis marks the end of an era for MGM and for the city. However, the company still has a significant foothold on properties across the Vegas Strip, representing a significant portion of the city's famous hotels.

These include resorts such as New York-New York, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, and others. Additionally, the company owns 50 percent of CityCenter Las Vegas, a massive entertainment complex containing the Aria Resort and the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas.

The Mirage was acquired by MGM in 2000 after first opening in 1989.

The acquisition also marks a return to the city for Hard Rock International after being a Las Vegas mainstay for over two decades.

Previously, the brand opened the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas in 1995 just off of the Vegas Strip. Despite a large renovation in 2007, the hotel was plagued with allegations of sexual misconduct and rampant drug use, particularly at its adjoining nightclub.

The hotel was eventually sold to the Virgin Group and closed for further renovations just months before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the casino industry. After a number of delays, the former Hard Rock Hotel officially reopened as the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas this past March.

Despite the closure of its Vegas hotel, Hard Rock continues to be an entertainment mainstay across the world, with hotels in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Newsweek has reached out to Hard Rock International for comment.