Sam Nazarian & sbe Sell Their 10% Of SLS Las Vegas

Buffet Monkey At SLS Las Vegas
First Buffet Monkey, Now Sam Nazarian Out at SLS Las Vegas

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sam Nazarian (sbe) decided to sell their 10% Of SLS Las Vegas. SLS Las Vegas has gotten off to such a bad start since opening in 2014 that they’ve made drastic changes like closing the nightclub, removing brand names from stores and restaurants, refreshing their players club to a more locals friendly model and more.

SLS Las Vegas isn’t the cool, hip casino originally planned and this basically seals the nail in that coffin.

Stockbridge Capital will operate the casino-hotel for the time being. Earlier this year I speculated that SLS Las Vegas was on the road to becoming Cosmopolitan Jr. but I don’t think that will be the case moving forward. The executive staff at SLS Las Vegas is doing everything they can to change the image of the property. By the time Stockbridge sells SLS there won’t be any cross marketing opportunities for Cosmo and SLS to make any sense.

I really like the hotel rooms at SLS Las Vegas and the Umami Burger/William Hill sports book but I’m not sure there’s a compelling reason to visit more often. I’d like to see the property do better but I think that will take new ownership. We’ll see.

Read more about “Nazarian to Sell Stake in SLS Las Vegas Hotel” at the Wall Street Journal

Jay-Z, Magic Johnson And Now Sam Nazarian

Sam Nazarian SLS Las Vegas Sahara Photo
Sam Nazarian

At a licensing hearing for SLS Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago it was noted that Sam Nazarian’s  SBE only owns 10% of the hotel opening this week.

Stockbridge owns 90 percent of the SLS Las Vegas while SBE Entertainment owns the remaining 10 percent but does not have any voting rights.

This surprised and confused many people as Sam Nazarian has been touted for “Shaking Up Las Vegas” since SLS Las Vegas was announced.

In just three months, on August 23, Life will open as the centerpiece of Nazarian’s new SLS Hotel and Casino. It’s where rowdy bachelorettes and drunk conventioneers will buy $1,000 bottles of champagne while aerialists perform overhead. 

Yes, SLS Las Vegas is being touted as Sam Nazarian’s hotel despite his company’s small ownership stake. As I’m writing this there’s a hearing for SLS Las Vegas’ gaming license where it was clarified that SBE/Nazarian “work for Stockbridge” and that technically Rob Oseland will really be running the ship day to day at SLS Las Vegas..

Sam Nazarian is a figurehead and spokesperson. He’s the famous name that SLS Las Vegas can use to market itself. In today’s media landscape this small ownership stake by a spokesperson should come as no surprise to anyone.

Jay-Z owned less than 1% of the Brooklyn Nets when he was called an owner. Magic Johnson owns the Los Angeles Dodgers but owns less than 3% of the team.

Even though calling these people “owners” seems like false representation it isn’t. They are “owners” hired as spokespeople. Jay-Z (especially) and Magic Johnson bring a cool factor and little more to their businesses interests. This arrangement benefits both parties as it offers something neither would have without each other.

Nazarian and SBE offer almost the same thing to SLS Las Vegas but they actually bring some kind of business portfolio to SLS Las Vegas. That’s probably why they own 10% and not less than 3% of the business.

Photo: Review Journal

Sam Nazarian SLS Las Vegas Sahara Photo
Sam Nazarian


SLS Las Vegas May Be Happening

It’s being reported that the SLS Las Vegas will be breaking ground today on the sight of where the Sahara once stood. Well, Sahara still stands but it’s not open. I’m still not sure that the SLS will ever be built and I’ll believe it when I see it.

I hope this casino does happen because I like new shiny things in Vegas. I’m conflicted on the reality of this so I’ll do a quick roundup of articles about the hotel instead.

Photo: FastLaneMag

Hilton Out…Sahara In?

Colony Resorts (part of Colony Capital) announced yesterday that they’re ending their relationship with Hilton at the end of the year and that Las Vegas Hilton would be no longer and that a new brand partnership announcement would be announced before next year.  While looking for other brand partners for Colony Resorts, I can across this press release announcing a strategic partnership between SBE and Colony Capital from January.

sbe, a leading hospitality, real estate development and lifestyle company, today announced that an affiliate of Colony Capital, LLC, a private, international investment firm, has made a strategic investment in its enterprise. The partnership will focus on the national and international expansion of sbe’s award-winning hospitality platform.

I don’t really see the Sahara name moving over to the Hilton location, but it would be funny to see.  They may opt to bring the Station Casinos brand to the Hilton and make that more of a locals casino.  They may also opt to take a non-casino brand to Las Vegas similar to what they did with the Hilton brand.  I think something similar to the former idea is more logical, but we’ll see.

BREAKING: Sahara Closing in May

Sahara Las Vegas At Night

News just broke that the rumors were true – the Sahara is closing.  Here are some of the specifics from the LA Times.

Closure of the 59-year-old Sahara hotel-casino on the recession-battered Strip is a psychological blow to Las Vegas. Sam Nazarian, the Los Angeles nightclub impresario who owns the property, has no specific plans for the Rat Pack-era hotel’s future.

Chief Executive Sam Nazarian, the Los Angeles nightclub impresario who purchased the Moroccan-themed casino in 2007 and vowed to restore its hipness, said in a statement that running the property was “no longer economically viable.”

While the statement said Nazarian’s company was mulling options for the 59-year-old resort, “including a complete renovation and repositioning,” it gave no details or timeframe for such plans.

Of course, I can’t say I’m surprised by this. I’ll get some thoughts together about this later, but I wanted to get the info out while it’s still relatively fresh.

Sahara Closing?

Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. I’m not much about rumors, but the rumor of Sahara closing seems too close to being true to not be true.  Here’s a tour on how this rumor developed.  SBE Entertainment, owners of Sahara, are bringing their Hyde Lounge to Bellagio.  The official announcement was made today.

“The move to bring the Hyde Lounge brand to Bellagio underscores the dynamic partnership forged between SBE and MGM Resorts International,” Nazarian said in a statement. “Together we’ve secured one of Vegas’ most prestigious locations, and will usher in a new and definitive chapter in nightlife on The Strip.”

I started reading that this might happen right after the Fontana Bar was said to be closing.  Next I saw another detailed nugget of info on Vegas Tripping further developing the rumor.  Their bottom line is this:

Right now, only The Naz knows if Sahara goes fishing or SBE cuts bait.

Toward the end of the VT article a link pointed to a post on Vegas Message Board that was very detailed, yet anonymous.

The internal buzz on the property for the past few months has the Sahara Hotel and Çasino shutting its doors no later than the fall of this year

None of this is from the horses mouth so there’s nothing to concrete to confirm, but putting 1 and 1 and 1 together I think it’s pretty close to being a truth.  I’m pretty sure Sahara won’t just be shutting it’s doors, but a sale makes a lot more sense.

Once again, I can see our old pal Carl Icahn stepping in and buying the old property on the cheap.  It could be a low cost complement to a possible high end Fontainebleau if that ever opens as a middle to high end property.  Another option is defaulting on loan on letting the bank deal with the mess.

I recently had my first trip to Sahara and the casino seems as if it could use a major cleaning.  It was filthy and I was happy when I left.  I’m curious to see how this all unfolds.