New York-listed casino operator MGM Resorts International has taken the first steps in executing its new asset-light strategy with an agreement to monetize its Bellagio real estate assets alongside the sale of Circus Circus Las Vegas.

MGM has entered into a definitive agreement to form a joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) that values the real estate of Bellagio at $4.25bn.

The JV will acquire the Bellagio real estate and lease it back to a subsidiary of MGM for initial annual rent of $245m, with MGM receiving a 5 per cent equity interest in the JV and cash of approximately $4.2bn. The transaction is expected to close in the final quarter of 2019, subject to certain closing conditions.

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