Caesars Casino Owner VICI Raises $1.2 Billion in IPO

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Casino News Daily
Caesars Casino Owner VICI Raises $1.2 Billion in IPO

Real estate investment trust (REIT) company VICI Properties raised $1.21 billion in its IPO, which was completed on January 31. VICI, which yesterday began trading on OTC Markets under the VICI ticker, currently owns more 36 million square feet of Caesars Entertainment Corp. properties, including 20 gaming facilities.

While initially seeking to sell 50 million shares, VICI eventually sold 60.5 million shares, with those being priced at $20 per share. The company also announced an overallotment option for 9.075 million shares. It thus expects to raise overall gross proceeds of $1.4 billion.

VICI was spun off last October when Caesars’ main operating unit emerged from bankruptcy after more than two and a half years. The REIT assumed control over the Las Vegas hotel and casino operator’s properties and leased them back to it.

Commenting on the successful IPO, VICI CEO Ed Pitoniak told media that they were gratified by the level of investor support and by the value placed at the company and its real estate portfolio. Here it is important to note that among other properties, VICI is also the owner of Caesars Palace, one of the most popular casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Mr. Pitoniak further noted the growing interest in gaming real estate as an asset class “worthy of institutional investment”. Beginning to trade on February 1, VICI became the third public REIT to be focused on the casino industry, with Gaming and Leisure Properties and MGM Growth Properties being the other two.

Gaming and Leisure Properties was created in 2013 to assume ownership of Penn National Gaming’s properties. As for MGM Growth Properties, it was spun off from Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts International.

Last month, MGM Growth Properties made an unsolicited bid to buy VICI at a price of $19.5 per share. The latter rejected the offer, stating that it was confident in its success as a standalone entity.

Caesars’ Post-Bankruptcy Expansion Plans

Last spring, Caesars said that geographical expansion would be among its main points of focus once its operating unit emerged from bankruptcy. The company back then named Canada, Brazil, and Japan as the destinations it would seek to extend its footprint into.

It has recently emerged that the major Las Vegas casino operator is seeking to enter the $8-billion project for the redevelopment of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens, Greece.

Cairns, Australia may be another potential destination where Caesars would try to expand to. Earlier this week, the government of Queensland announced that several major gambling companies have registered interest in participating in a A$1-billion integrated resort project on the Cairns waterfront.

While Queensland MPs refused to disclose the interested parties, it would not be a surprise if Caesars was among them. Last summer, reports surfaced that the company had been in talks with ASF Consortioum, the developer of the failed A$3-billion Gold Coast Integrated Resort, to participate in the scheme. The Queensland government nixed the project due to environmental concerns.

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