Caesars, VICI Close $1.1B Harrah’s Sale-Leaseback

The deal paves the way for Caesars to develop a new convention center and partially funds the firm’s previously announced acquisition of Centaur.

Harrah's Las VegasCaesars Entertainment Corp. and its spinoff “experiential asset” REIT, VICI Properties Inc., have completed their sale-leaseback of the real estate assets associated with Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

In the approximately $1.1 billion deal, Caesars sold the land and improvements to VICI, while in a separate $73.6 million transaction, VICI sold to Caesars about 18.4 acres of undeveloped land behind the LINQ Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Las Vegas. That parcel will be part of the site for a new convention center that Caesars is developing. 

As part of the transaction, Caesars and VICI will enter into a 15-year lease for Harrah’s Las Vegas and Caesars will pay initial annual rent of $87.4 million, an amount that will increase contractually in subsequent years. Caesars will have the option to extend the lease for an additional 20 years via four five-year extensions.

The proceeds of the sale of Harrah’s Las Vegas will be used to partially fund the previously announced acquisition of Centaur and are expected to allow us to develop the convention center without increasing leverage,” Mark Frissora, president & CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a prepared statement.

(Centaur Holdings owns two “racino” operations in Indiana. In late November, Caesars announced plans to buy Centaur for about $1.7 billion.)

The planned Las Vegas convention center reportedly will feature 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, the nation’s largest column-free ballroom and an outdoor plaza that can be used for a variety of events.

VICI also closed a private placement of common stock, under which it sold about 54 million shares of common stock at $18.5 per share, netting about $964 million. The proceeds were used to partially fund the acquisition of Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Adding to a large portfolio

The VICI spinoff from Caesars was itself completed only in early October. VICI’s portfolio at that time already included 19 major gaming facilities, including Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and a subsidiary that owns four championship golf courses. The REIT’s properties are leased to Caesars and operate under such brands as Caesars, Horseshoe, Harrah’s and Bally’s.

The portfolio totals about 32.5 million square feet of space and features 12,000 hotel guestrooms and more than 150 restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment