Genie out of bottle on Aladdin buyout

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LAS VEGAS -- The genie's lamp at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino here soon will be replaced by Planet Hollywood's signature blue globe.

The OpBiz group, a joint venture partnership that includes Robert Earl, founder and chief executive officer of Planet Hollywood International; Bay Harbour Management; and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, bought the Aladdin for $635 million.

The purchase agreement for the 2,567-room hotel, 114,000-square-foot casino and 7,000-seat Aladdin Theatre includes the assumption of debt as well as new capital investments of $90 million that will be used to improve the property and give it a new theme.

The new resort will be named the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino, a Sheraton Hotel.

Planned improvements include a new facade on the Strip, improved entryways and a renovated casino floor.

The property's new Hollywood theme will be evident in the design of new rooms and suites -- especially the hotel's top floor, which will house suites dedicated to specific movie stars. The next floor down will feature memorabilia from top-grossing films.

Plans also call for major headline acts to rotate through the Theatre for Performing Arts, which will also host weekly Hollywood-style movie premieres.

Starwood, through its Sheraton brand, will manage the hotel operations, and the casino will be operated by an as-yet-unnamed company.

Through its Starwood Vacation Ownership, the company also will develop a Westin Vacation Resort of up to 600 units on the property.

The purchase agreement does not include the adjoining Desert Passage mall, which is owned by Aladdin Bazaar.

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