Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) is leaving Las Vegas and completely abandoning the U.S. casino market after it agreed to sell The Venetian Resort for $6.25 billion.
Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) will acquire the operating company of The Venetian, which includes the resort, the connected Palazzo resort, and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, for $2.25 billion, while VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI), the real estate investment trust (REIT) spun off by Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) in 2017, will buy the real estate assets for $4 billion.
A big bet on Asia
Sands was rumored in October to be looking to dump its Las Vegas operations in a bid to go all-in on the Asia market. In announcing the sale, chairman and CEO Robert Goldstein said, "Asia remains the backbone of this company and our developments in Macao and Singapore are the center of our attention."
Although he also said there was still domestic development potential and Sands president and chief operating officer Patrick Dumont said the evolution of digital opportunities remains a possibility for future investment, Las Vegas Sands will now have no presence in the U.S. other than its headquarters, which is currently still located in Las Vegas.
The sale also brings into question how Sands will pursue a U.S. sports betting operation it is purportedly interested in since states typically require attachment to a physical casino or racetrack. While it could partner with an existing venue, it seems doubtful another operator would allow Sands to overshadow its own brand.
Apollo will acquire the Venetian for $1 billion cash and $1.2 in seller financing while VICI will pay $4 billion cash for the real estate. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and no time frame for closing the transaction was announced.