While we were out: Roundup of last week’s big stories

While the HOTELS team took the week off, several noteworthy stories broke. Here is a roundup of the top stories:

Caesars reorg

Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment announced Monday its all-stock merger agreement with Caesars Acquisition Co., the floundering entity which holds the majority of Caesars’ current US$28 billion debt load, to create one of the largest gaming and entertainment companies worldwide.

The latest move comes soon after Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. (CEOC) had reached an agreement with creditors to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. For creditors, the latest move is good news, as it will bring several of the best Caesars properties back into the parent company and avoid the assumption of more debt.

The announcement of the reorganization quickly follows an agreement reached between Caesars Entertainment and a primary debtholder group announcing the CEOC restructuring. That deal, between Caesars Entertainment and a steering committee of first-lien noteholders of CEOC debt, clears the way for the CEOC unit to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings while assuring that all Caesars properties will have a clear path for continuing operations.

According to Caesars, the CEOC bankruptcy filing will likely take place in mid-January. Caesars Entertainment (which will now include the reabsorbed Caesars Acquisition Co.), Caesars Entertainment Resort Properties and Caesars Growth Partners will maintain independent debt capital structures and will not be involved in the court-controlled bankruptcy proceedings.


Nazarian taking leave from SBE

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that hotelier Sam Nazarian told Nevada gambling regulators at a recent hearing for a casino license that he was taking time off from SBE Entertainment Group after admitting drug use and being extorted for US$3 million.

SBE is a partner with investor Stockbridge Capital Partners in the SLS Las Vegas, a 1,620-room hotel and casino that opened in August. Earlier this week, Stockbridge said Nazarian, his family and company could retain their 10% stake in the SLS Las Vegas but that Mr. Nazarian no longer would be involved in management.

The commission went on to approve a limited casino license for the hotelier with conditions that include random drug testing and Nazarian putting US$50,000 in an escrow account toward those tests and any additional investigation of his past.


Nakash Holdings acquires Setai in Miami

Nakash Holdings, a closely held investment company controlled by the founders of Jordache Enterprises, on Wednesday announced that it is purchasing The Setai Hote in Miami Beach, Florida.

Nakash will own and operate the 130-room luxury hotel acquired for an undisclosed price. This acquisition adds to Nakash’s Miami property portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including the Casa Casuarina, which was formerly known as the Versace Mansion.


Minor to reflag Bangkok Four Seasons

Minor Hotel Group, Bangkok, announced on Tuesday that it is set to reflag one of its owned properties, the Four Seasons Bangkok, to its luxury Anantara brand starting on March 1, 2015. Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel & Spa will undergo a significant enhancement, as well.

Named as general manager of the 354-room hotel is Titiya Chooto, who is currently GM at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and before that was hotel manager at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.


LVS wins approval for another Macau resort

Las Vegas Sands Corp. on Tuesday announced that the company’s majority-owned subsidiary, Sands China Ltd., has received the Macao government approvals needed to complete the construction of its US$2.7 billion Paris-themed integrated resort.

The completion of The Parisian Macao will bring Las Vegas Sands’ total investment in Macao to more than US$10 billion, with the vast majority of that investment spent building, among other things, expansive retail malls, convention and exhibition space and thousands of hotel rooms.


Accor’s new website, Accor’s multi-brand booking portal, has unveiled a new look with a more up-to-date homepage and new sections for easier and enriched travel preparation and organization, as well as bookings in the group’s 3,600 hotels around the world.

The new design adapts to the 32 geolocated versions of the website available in 16 languages, and can be accessed from computers, tablets or mobile phones.

The new homepage features a full “front page” photo that spotlights a destination, a hotel or a special offer.  It also features a special offer space, a destinations and brands insert, and a reinvented link to the loyalty program, Le Club Accorhotels.


Starwood Capital acquisition

Starwood Capital Group last week signed an agreement with SveaReal Fastigheter AB, the Sweden-based real estate and hospitality firm, whereby a controlled affiliate of a fund managed by Starwood plans to acquire SveaReal Fastigheter in a transaction valued at approximately US$1.49 billion.

SveaReal Fastigheter is the owner of 75 properties in Sweden, including office (45%), logistics/industrial (37%) and hotel assets (7%), amongst others.