MGM Mirage shareholders vote to change name of casino company to MGM Resorts International

By Oskar Garcia, AP
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

MGM Mirage changes name to MGM Resorts Int’l

LAS VEGAS — MGM Mirage is now MGM Resorts International after shareholders of the casino operator approved a name change Tuesday in a move to emphasize the brand’s scope.

Shareholders approved the rebranding at the company’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. It took effect immediately.

Company officials have said the new name better reflects the resort developer’s global presence as it expands in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren told The Associated Press after the board meeting Tuesday that the new name has been in the works since early 2009 and reflects other changes at the company.

“We had outlived the usefulness of the (MGM Mirage) name,” Murren said.

The company expects to launch an initial offering on the Hong Kong market this year with its Macau joint venture partner and is selling its name and expertise to develop Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels in Dubai that are expected to open in 2013. Its hospitality division, now MGM Resorts Hospitality, has worked to make deals with developers to create non-gambling hotels that may be designed and run — though not owned — by MGM Resorts.

Murren said the company also plans to revamp its loyalty program, which will be relaunched in phases starting this summer at resorts in Mississippi and Detroit. He said MGM Resorts has spent about $15 million on the technology and software to link its properties through its new M Life loyalty program.

M Life is similar to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.’s Total Rewards and other loyalty programs.

MGM Resorts International has stakes in 16 properties in the United States and China. Its resorts include 10 properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Mirage and Luxor. Its joint ventures include MGM Grand Macau and CityCenter, the company’s latest Strip resort that cost $8.5 billion to build.

The company, in which billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian is a major investor, became MGM Mirage in 2000 after the $4.4 billion buyout of Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts Inc. by Kerkorian’s MGM Grand. MGM Grand initially offered $3.5 billion to take over Mirage Resorts. Mirage’s board disagreed at first but eventually agreed to the deal, which made Wynn $483 million but left him out of the new company.

Wynn is now chief executive of Wynn Resorts Ltd., which runs the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas casinos on the Las Vegas Strip as well as two properties in Macau.

Murren said the company’s name was changed to MGM Mirage after that deal to embrace employees of The Mirage resort, which Wynn opened in 1989, and help them feel secure in the company fold.

Tuesday’s vote purged “Mirage” from the corporate name, though Murren told investors the company doesn’t plan to sell The Mirage casino in Las Vegas, where the company’s annual meeting was held last year. Tuesday’s was at the Aria Resort & Casino, CityCenter’s centerpiece.

The Las Vegas-based company lost $96.7 million, or 22 cents per share, during the first quarter this year. That compares with net income of $105.2 million, or 38 cents per share, for 2009’s first quarter. Revenue fell 3 percent to $1.46 billion.

The company reported total debt of $13 billion as of March 31, including $845 million in new notes due 2020 that were used to pay down debt due earlier.

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