By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor
Atlantic City, N.J.—For a cool $900 million, MGM Resorts International has agreed to acquire joint venture partner Boyd Gaming Corp.’s 50 percent interest in Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., MGM announced earlier this week.
In a related transaction, MGM Growth Properties LLC will acquire Borgata’s real property from MGM Resorts for total consideration of approximately $1.175 billion and lease it back to a subsidiary of MGM Resorts. Another subsidiary of MGM Resorts will operate Borgata, which with The Water Club, comprises New Jersey’s largest hotel at 2,802 rooms.
“Borgata is the premier resort in Atlantic City and a great addition to our growing presence in the Northeast,” Jim Murren, chairman & CEO of MGM Resorts International, said in a prepared statement. “While the market continues to experience challenges, Borgata has outperformed and differentiated itself as the undisputed leader in the city.”
For the 12 months ending March 31, Borgata reported $812 million in net revenues and $212 million in Adjusted EBITDA, according to MGM’s announcement.
MGP reportedly intends to fund the acquisition of the Borgata real property and the assumption of related debt with a combination of existing cash on hand, borrowings under its senior secured revolving credit facility, and the issuance of operating partnership units to a subsidiary of MGM Resorts.
The transactions are expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Atlantic City in general “has been challenged in recent years due to the added gaming competition from other states in the market, including Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland,” a spokesperson for hospitality industry consultants HVS told Commercial Property Executive.
A report released only a week ago by the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University showed that the 12-month averages on three measures of tourism spending in Atlantic City were up as of March 2016. The three metrics are based on casino visits, tourist spending on accommodations in both casino and non-casino hotels, and non-casino hotel performance.
Stockton professor of hospitality and tourism management studies Brian Tyrrell said the report “shows the casino entertainment and accommodations throughout Atlantic County are performing well over the past 12 months. Strong growth in the non-casino hotel accommodations sector in the first quarter suggests spill-over demand from casino hotels is helping to boost the entire tourism market in Atlantic County.”
The gaming side specifically might not be doing so well, however. Gross gaming revenue in Atlantic City in the 12 months ending in March 2016 was $2.58 billion, down 3.8 percent over the prior 12 months, according to the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, which cited figures from the New Jersey Division of Law Enforcement.
Image courtesy of Boyd Gaming