$250m JV will redevelop Hard Rock Vegas

DLJ Merchant Banking will provide two-thirds of the capital and New York-based boutique hotelier Morgans will provide the rest.

Boutique hotel firm Morgans Hotel Group and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, a private equity investment affiliate of Credit Suisse, will invest $250 million (€195 million) in a joint venture to acquire and redevelop the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Initially, Morgans will put up $50 million to gain a one-third interest in the joint venture while DLJ will put up $100 million to gain a two-thirds interest. Closing is subject to obtaining the necessary gaming approvals and financing and includes termination rights if the financing terms don’t satisfy DLJ, according to a statement.

DLJ will supply an additional $150 million in capital for any expansions of the Hard Rock property under the terms of the agreement, while Morgans will have the option to fund expansions in proportion to its equity commitments.

Morgans had been seeking an equity partner for the hotel, which it acquired along with an adjacent tract of land for $770 million in May.

Morgans said it intends to develop the Hard Rock into the “premier boutique property” in Las Vegas and that it looks forward to building a significant presence in the market, a move the firm said is key to its growth strategy. The company will also manage the hotel and its retail, food and beverage operations under a long-term contract.

Morgans is an expanding hotel firm which operates prominent boutique hotels in major US markets, including Morgans, the Royalton and the Hudson in New York City; the Delano and the Shore Club in Miami; Mondrian in Los Angeles and Arizona; and Sanderson and St. Martin’s Lane in London.

DLJ Merchant Banking is a part of Credit Suisse’s Alternative Investments group, which manages more than $20 billion in private equity assets. Earlier this year, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, the private equity real estate arm of Credit Suisse, closed its third fund on $1.2 billion.