Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: June 22, 2004

MGM MIRAGE AND MANDALAY BAY Resort Group officials hope to complete the $7.9 billion merger of their two gaming corporations by the end of first-quarter 2005. The two companies, on June 16, entered into a definitive merger agreement under which MGM Mirage will acquire Mandalay for $71 per share in cash. That figure is $3 per share more than MGM Mirage's original bid, made public on June 4, which Mandalay's board of directors rejected a week later. The total value of the acquisition will include equity value of approximately $4.8 billion, $600 million of convertible debentures and the assumption of roughly $2.5 billion in outstanding Mandalay debt.

IN LAS VEGAS, the blockbuster deal -- which would create the world's largest gaming company -- would give MGM Mirage control of some 36,000 Strip hotel rooms, including those in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, the Excalibur and Circus Circus. MGM Mirage's Las Vegas holdings include the Bellagio, the Mirage, the MGM Grand and Treasure Island.

CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT plans to open a 26,000-square-foot luxury car dealership in The Forum Shops at Caesars in October. Considered the first dealership of its kind in Las Vegas -- it beats the anticipated April 2005 opening of a Ferrari-Maserati dealership at the Wynn Las Vegas by a good six months -- Exotic Cars at Caesars Palace will feature a two-tiered showroom filled with more than 50 rare motor cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys. All will be displayed for sale. Located adjacent to the Forum Shops' Atlantis moving statue show rotunda, the dealership will be accessible via the shopping plaza's casino entrance. There will be no charge for visitors. Inside, the dealership will offer prospective buyers private salons, a private rear entrance and a wood-paneled VIP lounge equipped with plasma-screen televisions. There also will be 4,000 square feet of retail space offering luxury brand auto merchandise and a Picture Car area where visitors can have their photos taken in an exotic car.

THE LAS VEGAS HILTON HOTEL AND CASINO officially changed owners. Colony Capital, a Los Angeles-based international private investment firm, completed its purchase of the 35-year-old property from Caesars Entertainment on June 18. Wallace Barr, Caesars Entertainment president and CEO, said the company would use the proceeds from the sale -- estimated at $265 million after taxes -- to pay down its debt to approximately $4.2 billion and "focus our attention on our core assets at the center of the Las Vegas Strip." Colony Resorts LVH Acquisitions, (Colony LVH) plans to invest some $67 million over the next four years to renovate the property, including its 3,000 guest rooms, 13 restaurants and 40,000-square-foot gaming area, as well as focus on developing its conventions business.

THE PROPERTY features more than 200,000 square feet of conference space and adjoins the 3.2 million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center. Colony LVH also entered into an agreement with Hilton Hotels Corp. that will allow the hotel to continue to use certain elements of the Hilton brand, primarily the Hilton Reservation System. In addition, Colony LVH officials noted that the company may develop unused land near the hotel.

AMERICA WEST will launch new service to New Orleans and Houston, as well as additional flights to Detroit and San Diego, from its Las Vegas hub. Beginning Sept. 9, the carrier will operate one nonstop flight three days a week to New Orleans, while on Oct. 18, it will initiate one daily nonstop flight to Houston. Also on that date, America West will launch a second daily nonstop flight to Detroit along with an additional daily flight to San Diego. For more information or to book air only, call (800) 235-9292 or visit For vacation package reservations, phone (800) 235-9298 or log onto

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