April 4, 2009

Report: MGM Mirage seeks to sell casinos

Casino owner MGM Mirage is courting buyers for its facilities in Detroit and Biloxi, Miss., to meet looming debt obligations, sources say.

The Las Vegas company is holding a private auction to find takers for two of its dependable cash cows -- the MGM Grand Detroit and Biloxi's Beau Rivage casino -- to help meet obligations on its $13.5 billion debtload as well as to save its foundering CityCenter project on the Las Vegas Strip, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The newspaper also said its sources indicate that Australian billionaire and gambling magnate James Packer is considering getting involved with MGM Mirage's troubled $8.6 billion CityCenter real estate project.

Lenders recently gave MGM Mirage a two-month extension, but the company warned it may not be able to meet a May 15 deadline by which it must improve its cash-to-debt ratios.

The Journal quoted industry analysts saying that a sale of the Detroit and Biloxi casinos might bring as much as $2 billion to the company, giving it a much-needed cash boost at a time when gambling revenues are plunging due to the recession.