Las Vegas Sands Corp. to Sell Iconic Strip Properties to Apollo Funds for $6.25 Billion
Las Vegas Sands Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to sell The Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center Operating Company for $6.25 billion to the Global investment firm Apollo Global Management, Inc.
Apollo affiliates and real estate investment trust firm VICI Properties Inc. will acquire subsidiaries that hold the real estate and operations of the Las Vegas Strip’s Venetian and Palazzo resorts and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
“The Venetian is America’s premier integrated resort, with an unrivaled set of amenities to serve guests across hospitality, meeting events, gaming and entertainment — categories that we believe are well-positioned for strong recovery and long-term growth,” said Apollo Partner Alex van Hoek. “The team at Las Vegas Sands, under the leadership and vision of Sheldon Adelson, built an irreplaceable asset that is renowned for its quality, scale and integrated offerings, and we see significant opportunity to invest in and accelerate its growth.”
He added, “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.”
According to news reports, Sands executives had been considering offers for the Las Vegas properties last fall. The thought process is that a sale would provide the gaming company with the ability to reinvest in its resorts in popular Asian destinations Macao and Singapore, as well as pursue new growth prospects.
Built 21 years ago, The Venetian helped transform Sands Corp. into the world’s largest gaming operator. The famed resort was the brainchild of Founder Sheldon Adelson, who passed away Jan. 11 at age 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Under the terms of the deal, Apollo Funds will acquire the operating company of The Venetian for $2.25 billion, while VICI Properties will purchase the land and real estate assets of The Venetian for $4 billion, for a total transaction value of $6.25 billion.
Simultaneous with the closing of the transaction, Apollo Funds will enter into a long-term, triple net lease agreement for The Venetian with VICI.
According to Apollo officials, Apollo Funds’ investment was conservatively structured and includes no third-party debt, long-dated and attractively priced seller financing and a lease support agreement from Sands through 2023. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2021.
Apollo has extensive experience investing in leading businesses across hospitality, travel, gaming and leisure. The company intends to leverage this experience in shepherding this iconic asset through its next stage of growth, according to company officials.
Its recent gaming investments include the pending acquisition of Great Canadian, Canada’s leading gaming and entertainment provider, the acquisition of IGT’s Lottomatica business and the pending investment in Sazka, Europe’s largest lottery operator. In 2020, Apollo made investments in Expedia, Swissport and Aeromexico.
Additional prior Apollo fund investments in the hospitality, travel, gaming and leisure industries include PlayAGS; Gala Coral Group; Sun Country Airlines; Norwegian Cruise Lines; Vail Resorts; Aliante Casino and Hotel; Bally’s Corporation and Great Wolf Resorts, among others.
“The Venetian is one of the most coveted properties in Las Vegas and a premier destination for gaming, business and leisure alike,” said John Payne, president and COO of VICI Properties. “We are thrilled to add The Venetian to our roster of best-in-class assets and believe the property is positioned to benefit from a rebound in Las Vegas under Apollo’s leadership. We look forward to what we expect will be a mutually beneficial and productive relationship with Apollo.”