Las Vegas Sands Corp., the upscale resort and casino company founded by the late Sheldon Adelson, is leaving its namesake city, and selling its two Nevada properties in a $6.25 billion deal. Apollo Global Management and Vici Properties are partnering to buy the Venetian, a 7,000-room resort on the Las Vegas Strip, and the nearby Sands Expo and Convention Center. Apollo is paying $2.25 billion for Venetian’s operating company and Vici is buying the land and real estate assets for the remaining $4 billion.
Apollo, a private equity firm, said the purchase is a major bet on Las Vegas, which has seen its tourism numbers and conference business drastically decline over the past year because of the pandemic. “This investment also underscores our conviction in a strong recovery for Las Vegas as vaccines usher in a reopening of leisure and travel in the United States and across the world,” it said.
Apollo has previously invested in Vegas casinos. In 2008, Apollo and TPG completed a $30 billion leveraged buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which loaded the company with debt on the eve of Las Vegas’s longest and deepest recession. The company renamed itself Caesars Entertainment Corp. and in 2015 filed for bankruptcy protection of its largest unit, which had $18 billion in debt.
Apollo recently has raised its bets on the gambling industry. The private-equity giant agreed to buy Canadian casino operator Great Canadian Gaming Corp. in November and eyed U.K. bookmaker William Hill PLC last year before deciding against making an offer.
Under the Sands deal, funds tied to Apollo will buy subsidiaries that hold the operating assets and liabilities of Sands’ Las Vegas business for about $1.05 billion in cash and $1.2 billion in seller financing in the form of a term loan credit and security agreement, Sands said. REIT Vici Properties Inc. will buy subsidiaries that hold the real estate and real estate-related assets of the Venetian for about $4 billion in cash.
The Apollo funds will also enter into a long-term lease pact with Vici for the properties, the companies said. The Venetian resort comprises a 35-story hotel tower with some 3,000 suites, a 12-story tower with about 1,000 suites and the 50-story Palazzo Tower, which has about 3,000 suites, according to its 2019 annual securities filing. The resort has about 225,000 square feet of gambling space, the company said in the filing.