Palms Casino Said for Sale as Listings Rise in Vegas Rebound

  • Aliante, half-done Fountainebleau are also seeking buyers
  • Travel exceeds pre-recession highs, boosting room rates

The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas has hired the investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. to explore a possible sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter, becoming one of at least three properties to come on the market as tourism improves.

The 1,300-room resort, about a mile from the Las Vegas Strip, could fetch several hundred million dollars, said the people, who asked not to be identified since the decision to seek a buyer hasn’t been announced. TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP became majority owners five years ago in a debt restructuring.

The Palms was one of several casinos taken over by investment firms in the wake of the financial crisis. Now a recovery in Las Vegas tourism is spurring the owners to post for-sale signs. Visitors to the city rose 2.9 percent to a high of 42.3 million last year, while the average daily room rate, at $120, returned to 2008 levels, according to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

Leonard Green & Partners declined to comment, as did Macquarie and TPG.

Aliante Gaming LLC, parent of the Aliante Casino in North Las Vegas, has retained the investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc. to explore a sale, the people said. It’s owned largely by the investment firms Apollo Global Management LLC, Standard General LP and TPG. John Gallagher, a Houlihan spokesman, and John Dillard, a spokesman for Standard General, declined to comment. Apollo didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Those properties are coming on the market as Fountainebleau, a half-finished resort taken over by Carl Icahn, also seeks a buyer. CBRE Group Inc.’s Global Gaming Group in Las Vegas announced in November it had the listing. In addition, Station Casinos LLC, which went through a bankruptcy court restructuring five years ago, filed for an initial public offering in October.

The Palms, opened by entrepreneur George Maloof Jr. in 2001, enjoyed a heyday in its early years when its Ghostbar nightclub was packed with celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. New towers were added in 2005 and 2008. The property restructured its debt in 2011, bringing in TPG and Leonard Green.

Annual operating income at the property runs in the tens of millions of dollars, the people said.

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