Blackstone Group Inc. is in advanced talks to buy and lease back the iconic Bellagio and MGM Grand Las Vegas casinos from MGM Resorts International, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Representatives for Blackstone and MGM Resorts declined to comment.
MGM Resorts shares rose as much as 5% before settling up 1.4% to $29.47 at 12:06 p.m. in New York.
The Las Vegas-based company in January formed an independent committee to evaluate ways to extract value from its real estate portfolio. Activist investor Starboard Value built a position in the company with plans to push for changes, Bloomberg News reported that month
MGM Resorts expects to share the results of the review in early fall, Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren said in a conference call with analysts in July.
The Bellagio and MGM Grand Las Vegas are two of the crown jewels in MGM Resorts’ portfolio of gaming resorts in the U.S. and China. Together, the properties have more than 10,000 rooms and about 315,000 square feet of casino space, according to the company’s most recent annual report.
MGM Resorts could receive proceeds of up to $4 billion selling the Bellagio and nearly $3 billion from a sale of MGM Grand, analysts with Bloomberg Intelligence said in July.
Blackstone, a New York-based private equity firm, has built up a hefty war chest for real estate transactions. Last week, it said it raised $20.5 billion for its ninth real estate fund, topping the $15.8 billion it raised for its predecessor vehicle.
The firm has a history in the gaming sector. It’s holdings include Spain’s Cirsa Gaming Corp., which it acquired last year for about $1.8 billion, and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which it acquired in 2014 for $1.7 billion.