Stockbridge, SBE buy Sahara casino

San Mateo, California-based private equity real estate firm Stockbridge Funds is working with Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment to acquire and renovate the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

California private equity real estate group Stockbridge Real Estate Funds is working with Los Angeles hospitality, nightclub and real estate developer SBE Entertainment to acquire the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed. The seller is Gordon Gaming.

“The Sahara is one of the last remaining original properties on the Las Vegas Strip, and we are thrilled with the possibilities that it presents,” Sam Nazarian, the chief executive officer of SBE, said in a statement. “Our plan is to reposition this legendary property for a new generation of travelers, while preserving its existing scale.”

According to the statement, the new owners plan to renovate the Sahara, which sits on a 17.5-acre lot on the north end of the Strip and has 1,720 rooms. Gordon Gaming acquired the hotel in 1995 and reportedly made more then $100 million in upgrades to the property.

Completed in 1952, the Morocco-themed casino has a rich history and featured performances by the Rat Pack in the 1960s. It was also featured in the 1960 heist film Ocean’s Eleven, which starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Joey Bishop.

SBE has restaurant, nightclub, independent film and real estate development arms, while Stockbridge has invested more than $7.6 billion in institutional real estate since its formation in 1994.

The acquisition of the Sahara is the latest example of private equity involvement in the casino space, including the recent acquisitions of Harrah’s by Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management, the takeover of Station Casinos by Colony Capital and the purchase of The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas by DLJ Merchant Banking.