British billionaire and Virgin tycoon Richard Branson has now inked a deal allowing his company to acquire Las Vegas’ iconic Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The purchase has been processed for an undisclosed cash sum, although considering the scale of the legendary casino resort, it is expected that Virgin has paid a hefty price for the property. The massive sale was closed late last week by Toronto’s commercial property development firm, Brookfield Asset Management. No further information on the financial side of the purchase has been revealed, although it has been confirmed that hotel investment company Bosworth Hospitality Partners have partnered with Virgin in the deal.
Also acting alongside Bosworth is a number of other firms who have banded together with Sir Branson to purchase the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. They include Juniper Capital Partners, and another Toronto-based property management firm, Fengate Capital Management. Since the purchase, Branson has been quick to announce his plans for the casino, noting that he aims to turn it into a completely Virgin-branded venue by the end of 2019. Founder of Bosworth Hospitality Partners Richard Bosworth will act as the hotel and casino’s new CEO once its doors have opened, according to a recent press release. The release also revealed that the property has been renamed Virgin Las Vegas – coming as a major step for the multinational firm into the world of casino gambling.
Commenting on the deal at a press conference last week, Virgin’s Branson noted that Virgin Atlantic and Virgin American have enjoyed flying plenty of guests to Las Vegas from Britain over the years. He added that his company would not have entered Vegas unless it had found a ‘very Virgin’ property, which the company feels it has achieved with the purchase of the Hard Rock Hotel.
With over 1,500 rooms, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas opened its doors in 1995. However, just over a decade later, the casino’s developer Peter Morton sold the property to the Morgans Hotel Group Co. for a whopping $770 million. Brookfield Asset Management took over in 2011 following a settlement agreement with the former owners. According to Virgin, the renovation of the property will be completed in phases, with the company ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the project.
Branson has also revealed that the hotel’s iconic neon guitar ‘may not survive’ the revamp, being set to be replaced by Virgin’s trademark red ‘V’ sign.