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Richard Branson buys the Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Las Vegas



LAS VEGAS – The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will be overtaken by billionaire Richard Branson in the months following his purchase on Friday.

The property features approximately 1,500 rooms and suites on the Las Vegas Strip and later Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It will continue to operate under the Hard Rock brand by the end of 2019, when renovations are likely to be completed.

"Virgin is all about fun, entertainment and does not take us too seriously," Branson said. "Virgin Atlantic has had a lot of fun bringing many people from the UK to Las Vegas for many years, Virgin America did the same, and we would not just have come to Las Vegas if we had not found the property, the very virgin one was and I think we have achieved that. "

The 23-year old property remains open during renovations that take place in several stages. The company said it would invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" to transform the property, but it was not immediately clear that the hotel casino would retain its current entertainment facilities, including a popular day club.

The property will retain its casino floor, which is managed by a partner. Some of the big rock memorabilia that the Hard Rock Casino Hotel owns can go to the store.

"The guitar could not survive," Branson said, referring to a massive guitar in front of the hotel. "But we have a gigantic 'v' that has a kind of guitar shape and can do it."

Virgin Hotels bought the property with a group of partners, including Los Angeles-based investment firm Juniper Capital Partners. The terms of the purchase of Brookfield Asset Management were not disclosed.

Branson, who had previously roped off in a casino hotel and roped on a jet ski to the fountain in front of the Bellagio Casino Resort, promised an "equally entertaining" event for the official launch of the hotel.

The leader of the Culinary Union, which represents more than 50,000 casino hotel workers in Las Vegas, said Brookfield and Virgin Hotels have decided on a process that will keep management as neutral employees if they are "without management interference, Harassment, surveillance, harassment or litigation "should be organized.

"This is a new era of positive working cooperation at Hard Rock Las Vegas," said Geoconda Argüello-Kline of the union secretary-treasurer said in a statement.

The only Virgin Hotel open to date is in Chicago. Others are planned for New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Palm Springs, California, and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Branson has led a number of deals under the Virgin brand, including Records (19659006) ___

Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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