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Dubai World official says it would be willing to sell shares in MGM Resorts

15 May 2013

LAS VEGAS -- One of the largest shareholders in MGM Resorts International said Tuesday it would be willing to sell its stake in the hotel-casino operator for the right price.

In an interview with Dow Jones News Service, a representative of Dubai World, the investment arm for the Persian Gulf emirate, said it rejected an offer for its 5.3 percent ownership as late as last year.

However, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, told Dow Jones the emirate remains open to selling its ownership stake in the company that controls 10 Strip resorts, including Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Mirage. Dubai World and MGM Resorts are 50-50 partners in the CityCenter development.

“We don’t have to sell at this time ... we still have time,” al Maktoum said. He added Dubai World wouldn’t be rushed into selling the holdings.

The emirate also isn’t under pressure from creditors of Dubai government-related entities to sell assets in order to make debt repayments, Dubai World officials said.

A spokesman for MGM Resorts declined to comment on the matter.

Dubai World, through its Infinity World unit, originally paid $80 a share (roughly $2.4 billion) to purchase a 9.5 percent stake in MGM Resorts in 2007 and the half interest in CityCenter.

According to Dow Jones, Dubai World’s holdings have been diluted to 5.3 percent through new share issues. The company owns 26 million shares.

Shares of MGM Resorts closed at $15.86 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, up 16 cents or 1.02 percent.

It’s unclear if Dubai World was interested in selling just its stake in MGM Resorts or is also interested in selling the CityCenter stake. Last year, Infinity World President William Grounds was added to MGM Resorts’ board of directors.

Dubai World is now the fourth largest shareholder in MGM Resorts.

Billionaire financier Kirk Kerkorian, the founder of MGM Resorts, controls 18.6 percent through Tracinda, his Los Angeles-based private investment arm. Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson holds 7.7 percent of the company while Janus Capital Management controls 7.2 percent.

Nevada gaming regulators would have to license a buyer if Dubai World were to see the entire stake to one person or entity.
Dubai World official says it would be willing to sell shares in MGM Resorts is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.