Caesars Completes Sale of Caesars Palace’s Octavius Tower to VICI

Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. and real estate investment trust VICI Properties announced the completion of the latter’s acquisition of the Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace for the total amount of $507.5 million in cash.

Under the terms of an existing ground lease agreement between the two parties, VICI will lease the property back to Caesars. The real estate investment trust will annually receive $35 million for the Octavius Tower.

VICI spun off from Caesars’ main operating unit Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. (CEOC) in the fall of 2017. VICI’s launch came on the heels of CEOC’s exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The entity became the third REIT to be operating within the casino gaming industry, with MGM Growth Properties and Gaming and Leisure Properties being the other two.

As mentioned above, VICI has paid the purchase price using available cash. Earlier this year, the REIT company raised more than $1.2 billion in an IPO. It sought to sell 50 million shares under its initial plan, but eventually sold 60.5 million.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Acquisition

VICI also announced that it would complete the acquisition of the Harrah’s Philadelphia property from Caesars in the fourth quarter of the year. The original purchase price of $241.5 million will be reduced to $82.5 million to reflect modifications to the REIT company’ existing leases with Caesars.

In a statement from earlier today, Caesars CEO Mark Frissora said that they would use the money they receive from the transactions to fund “value-adding growth opportunities and reduce volatility of [their] future rent payments”.

The gaming and hospitality giant announced last year that it would be pursuing expansion opportunities across different markets once its main operating unit emerged from bankruptcy. The company has already expressed interest in extending its casino resort footprint to Japan and Brazil, and has confirmed that it would expand its Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Flamingo, and The LINQ brands beyond Las Vegas.

It became known that Caesars will open two non-gaming resorts – Caesars Palace Bluewaters and Caesars Bluewaters – in Dubai later this year, and that it is building a non-gaming resort in Mexico. The latter property is slated to open doors in the first half of 2019. It will operate under the Caesars Palace brand.

According to reports from Greek media outlets, the gaming and hospitality company has also expressed interest in participating in an $8-billion project for the redevelopment of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens into a luxury integrated resort with a casino. It is believed that the bidding process for the gaming license is expected to be launched by the end of August after the Greek government issued a list of pending privatization activities urging their completion. The privatization of the now-defunct airport was part of that list.

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