Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin doesn't seem to think CityCenter was such a hot idea. Ok, that might be a bit of monday-morning-quarterbacking but he's also going out on a limb to say Cosmo is doomed, in his talk with Nevada journalist Jon Ralston.

He also revealed that his $1B offer for The Mirage was turned down by MGM's board just over a year ago.

Ruffin's typically one of the more restrained casino owners when it comes to making public comments. Interesting to see him coming out full on, including bashing President Obama.


Read archived comments (13 so far)
November 22, 2010 11:08 PM Posted by mungroo

Well he said he wasn't "bashing" Obama - he just didn't like his policies.

Interesting interview but I was a little confused by his Mirage comments. First, he said he offered $500 million for an MGM property but he would not say which one. When pressed, he said it wasn't the Mirage but then seemed to backtrack saying something like "I'll be honest ..." and then describing his an offer to acquire the Mirage in exchange for assuming $1bn of MGM debt. But he said that he would acquire the debt at a "discount" for $500 million. I am not sure how this deal was supposed to work but it seems like he basically offered $500 million for the Mirage. That sounds like a bad deal for MGM.

November 22, 2010 11:57 PM Posted by Dan Short

The perfect show. Two faced Phil Ruffin. Says he overpaid for TI but didn;t offer to give the Plaza group some money back.

Didn't offer $1B for the Mirage, offered to buy $1B in debt for a discount. If he offfered a real billion they might have taken it. Would the TI/Miarge have been married together?

I wouldn't want to be his banker. What a crook. Stop paying the debt and screw the debt holder's. Luckilly Kerkorian and Wynn are honest men. And what's with the ass kissing? No mention of LVs i see.



November 23, 2010 7:42 AM Posted by Brian Fey

If TI was worth $750 million to Ruffin, then Mirage for $1 Billion would have been a much better deal. It has 2 theaters, 3 times the land, etc. I could type for days on why the Mirage is better than TI.

November 23, 2010 8:34 AM Posted by atdleft

Heh. Ruffin should have known what he was getting into when he agreed to talk to Ralston. He's relentless, and he obviously scored a coup in getting Ruffin to admit he wanted The Mirage...

But for $1 billion in debt buys??!! OK, I now admit I was wrong. I really thought MGM would get desperate enough to sell it soon. And while I still suspect they might have done it for something more like $1.5-1.7 billion in cash, it's now crystal clear Kirkorian and Murren didn't want to let go of one of their flagship properties, and they especially weren't going to allow Ruffin to essentially steal The Mirage from them.

November 23, 2010 9:34 AM Posted by stevecovington (steve_c)

I think it will happen sooner or later, I really don't see any reason for MGM to keep Mirage since it's no longer connected to any of it's properties. Could MGM be waiting to get out of the craphole and scoop up TI back from Ruffin? I for one would love to see Mirage sold... I just hope that doesn't mean the rest of the atrium will be converted into Gilley's South once he gets his hands on it. Maybe they can sell of the Mandalay Mile to Penn and just focus on MGM Grand and the CityCenter/Bellagio block. If MGM really wants to make some quick cash, they could maybe pull in about $4-6B for the Mandalay stretch... I could see it being sold off for $4-6B ($2-3B for Mandalay, $1-2B for Luxor, $500M-$1B for Excalibur)... They would probably be better off getting rid of those properties rather than Mirage considering all 3 properties need thorough renovations, and Mirage is essentially a "new" property again.

I do think it would be kind of cool to see Mirage and TI owned by the same company again.. perhaps they could add in a sky-bridge ala Mandalay/Luxor between the two properties parallel to the tram. :) Make that walk even easier. lol

November 23, 2010 11:33 AM Posted by detroit1051

Ruffin was refreshingly honest. He knows how to make money and makes no apologies for it. His comments on Trump International were interesting, that they've stopped trying to sell units at a loss and will run it as a hotel for years until the condo market comes back. He said the Trump is break-even now, so they can afford to wait.

We know he talked about The Mirage, but if I heard him right, he offered $500 Million for another MGM property. What was it, Excalibur?

I bet Ruffin's right, that Vegas will really start a meaningful recovery in 2012.

I liked the guy. No corporate-speak like from Murren. Ruffin called Murren classy, and Kerkorian super-classy.

Have no idea if he's right on Cosmopolitan. Deutsche Bank can handle operating losses for years, but what do they want to do considering the billions they've put into it?

November 23, 2010 12:38 PM Posted by mike_ch

I'm no accountant, but it SOUNDS like Ruffin was willing to give MGM a half million dollars and assume a billion dollars of MGM's debt for The Mirage. By the time Ruffin finishes paying the debt, he will have spent $1.5b for Mirage.

He's assuming MGM is so desperate to clear their debt that they'll give up a resort the size of Mirage for half a billion. Much like trying to pay off your credit card over the span of a months, they pay that debt off slowly, but if they sell a hotel then it's gone.

November 25, 2010 1:08 AM Posted by Dan Short

Well, I am an accountant, and I didn't hear any $1.5 offer, just a blustery theif trying to screw the debt holders at MGM out of a half a billion dollars. I would assume the debt holders turned the offer down, unlike the recent Planet Hollywood, M Resort and Foutainbleu deals where the debt holders took a bath for billions.

I wonder if any of the bailout money went to the Vegas lenders? I know that some New York bankers sold all of their interest in Vegas a couple of years ago.

I thought it was funny that he said the bailout was started by Bush. No ,the need for the bailout was created by Bush and his financial advisors who allowed the banks to have low interest loans and sub-prime mortages.

Does this man wash his hair? At least Trump's combaround appears to be clean. Shouldn't he be selling used cars somewhere.


November 26, 2010 1:48 AM Posted by mike_ch

Dan, you seem to be angry about everything. Has there been anything in the business happening right now that you like at all?

And by most opinions, "the bailouts" began with Paulson's really awkward letter to Congress asking that they hand over $700b with no oversight of any kind at all.

December 1, 2010 12:37 PM Posted by Mark

I just heard someone say that they are taking the fake balcony railings off of the hotel windows at TI. Anyone know whats going on?

December 1, 2010 5:11 PM Posted by Hunter

Really? That would look odd.

December 1, 2010 5:24 PM Posted by stevecovington

I really hope that is not the case... unless he is completely reskinning the tower (which would be a shame). He seems to have plenty of cash, so I wouldn't doubt it. One good thing that MGM did right was TI's new tower color.. Really makes a bold statement against the blue sky.

Could you imagine Treasure Island with an all-glass facade? Or even without the balconies? Would look awful. I hope this isn't the case.

December 1, 2010 6:14 PM Posted by Hunter

He has cash but I would seriously doubt it. Doesn't seem to jive with Ruffin's biz sense.

He's a 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' kinda guy. I doubt he could ever justify the cost of re-skinning that tower - no way it would bring in any more money and it would probably look worse.