One of the few independent operations on the strip will soon no longer be independent. The Cosmopolitan is slated to be sold, with the real estate going to a group of investors, and operations of the casino transferring to MGM, presuming the deal is approved. It’s expected the deal will close in the first half of 2022.
It has been rumored for some time that the Cosmopolitan was for sale, and MGM was always rumored to be interested in the property. This structure follows MGM’s “asset-light” model where they don’t own the underlying land of most of their operations, instead paying rent and running the operations of the various properties.
For MGM, they get access to one of the higher end properties on the strip; for Blackstone, who bought the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for a fraction of what they’re selling it for today, it’s a massive return on their investment.
Once MGM takes over, it would be expected that they merge in the Mlife players club, as well as implement rules that they have at other properties such as no comp dollars in the shops, which is something Cosmo has allowed. Cosmo’s comp program was more generous, not unusual for an independent program.
Cosmo’s Marriott affiliation might be at risk too, given Mlife has an agreement with Hyatt.
On the flip side, Cosmo would become available as an option for Mlife players across the country, and wouldf add another high-end property to the portfolio. This also further entrenches Mlife with a more continuous stack of properties going from Mandalay Bay at the southern end to Bellagio at the northern end.
At a time when Eldorado has been pruning Caesars properties, including the Rio in Vegas and their statement earlier that they would be open to pruning one more on the strip, this would further cement Mlife in Las Vegas. Hopefully many of the aspects that keep Cosmo unique would be kept post acquisition, but it remains to be seen what MGM’s plans for the property will be.
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