Morgans forfeits interest in Hard Rock Vegas

LAS VEGAS Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Warner Gaming LLC have been granted ownership and operational control of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, with former co-owner Morgans Hotel Group now officially unaffiliated with the notorious Las Vegas hotspot.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the deal to reduce the property’s debt from US$1.25 billion to US$898 million, avoiding what could have been an embarrassing foreclosure and bankruptcy proceeding. Under the agreement, ownership of the property will transfer LVHR Casino Inc., a subsidiary of Brookfield, while management of the property will be transferred to Warner Gaming, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Brookfield, which plans to convert its US$178 million worth of notes into an equity stake in the Hard Rock, is setting aside US$30 million to reposition the property. However, Brookfield officials told gaming regulators that no layoffs are planned and that major changes will be few in terms of the property’s public image over the near term.