|By Elaine Rose, The Press of Atlantic
City, Pleasantville, N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 23, 2011--MGM Resorts International has asked for more time to sell its interest in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the company announced Friday.
MGM, which has its 50-percent share of the Borgata held in trust, asked the Casino Control Commission to extend by 18 months the time it has to direct the trustee to sell its interest, the company said. That would give Las Vegas based MGM until March 24, 2013 to find a buyer for its half of the Borgata. If a deal is not made by that time, the trustee has a year to complete the sale.
The original agreement, signed in March 2010, gives MGM until September to find a buyer. Boyd Gaming Corporation, also based in Las Vegas, owns the other half of Atlantic City's newest casino.
MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet said Friday afternoon that the company asked for an extension because it has been trying to sell its share of the Borgata in tough economic times.
"We think we will have a better buyer for us, for the state and for our partner Boyd Gaming if we had more time," Monet said.
The original agreement said that MGM's share of the Borgata must be sold within 30 months. For the first 18 months of that time period, MGM had the right to negotiate the sale and direct the trustee to enact it. If it could not find a buyer and acceptable terms in that time frame, then the trustee had another year to sell MGM's interest.
Daniel Heneghan, spokesman for the Casino Control Commission, declined to comment Friday afternoon except to confirm that the commission received a petition to amend the agreement. The issue is on the agenda for the commission's Aug. 8 meeting.
MGM agreed in March 2010 to sell its stake in the Borgata rather than give up its partnership with Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho in a casino it runs in the Macau region of China. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement had declared Ho an "unsuitable" business partner for the Macau gaming hall because she was influenced by her father, Stanley Ho, who was reputed to have ties to organized crime in Asia.
Neither Stanley Ho, nor Pansy Ho had been charged with any offense, and both denied ties to organized crime.
MGM sold the land under the Borgata to Vornado Realty Trust and Geyser Holdings for a reported $73 million in July 2010. It also owns about 85 acres in the marina district zoned for casino development, and said at the time it plans to sell that land in a separate deal.
Officials at the Borgata could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
To see more of The Press of Atlantic City, go to http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/.
Copyright (c) 2011, The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com. NYSE:BYD,NYSE:MGM,