Morgans Hotel Group is like that kid on the playground who no one would play with, so he went away, then came back 10 minutes later and said no, he wasn’t Johnny. He was Johnny’s twin brother. Who just moved from Canada. You hadn’t met him yet.
Which is a long way to go to say that Morgans—recently relieved of its Hard Rock Hotel management contract thanks to a mountain of debt—is now back as a player in Las Vegas thanks to a $46.5 million deal to acquire a 90 percent stake in nightlife mega operator the Light Group.
The deal calls for $28.5 million in cash off the rip, and the next $18 million being paid out over the next 27 months with Light Group hitting certain earnings goals. Light Group founder and chairman Andrew Sasson will join the Morgans board of directors as part of the deal, while Andy Masi will remain Light Group’s CEO.
According to a report in the New York Post, Light Group is already renovating Morgans’ Delano South Beach, with an overhaul of its Mister H at Mondrian SoHo up next. It’s a deal that was in the works for two years. It will finalize in the fourth quarter of this year.
What remains to be seen is how, if at all, this will affect Vegas operations. Morgans did go in for a $750 million expansion of the Hard Rock, rearranged the casino floor there and ditched Wasted Space in favor of a new sports book. So maybe they’ll spring for a new guacamole recipe at Diablo’s or something.