Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fontainebleau Sale Rumors Heat Up MGM Call

Rumors about a sale of Fontainebleau are nothing new. It's been over a year since the last round of speculation about who could possibly buy the property and maybe open it someday. Back then a sale was expected by the end of summer 2016.

Needless to say that never happened and we've been in a holding pattern ever since.

The lack of news about Fontainebleau made today's MGM Resorts International earnings call that much more surprising. Seemingly out of the blue Carlo Santarelli, Wall Street analyst at Deutsche Bank asked CEO Jim Murren about the property and how long it would take for a company to get it up and running.

Murren joked about the "rumor" and indicated MGM was not interested in the property, but speculated it would take 2 or 3 years for the resort to be operational. He also commented about Fontainebleau possibly being in a good location once the expanded convention center is finished, and thus would be more focused on the lodging aspect of the resort (rather than say gaming).

It's probably true that MGM isn't buying Fontainebleau, although it might be an interesting project for their MGM Growth Properties REIT subsidiary. Either way, hearing this chatter in the middle of the earnings call definitely got my attention. It seems like somebody knows something about a transaction happening soon. Or maybe they don't. The waiting game continues.