Richard Branson Purchases Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
British billionaire Richard Branson is purchasing the Hard Rock Hotel and casino in Las Vegas for an undisclosed amount of money. The purchase, which was finalized last week, represents the culmination of Branson’s long-held wish to own a Las Vegas casino.
Branson, who is known as an offbeat and eccentric billionaire, is planning to rebrand the iconic Off-Strip hotel as a Virgin property to match his airline and other holdings by the end of 2019. That means that the site’s massive guitar-shaped sign, which has made appearances in multiple motion pictures, will likely be coming down. In its place, Branson is planning, “…a giant V that is sort of guitar-shaped,” and that, “we know how to design things, to bring some magic back to it.”
While the Hard Rock is well-known, it’s also Off-Strip and that makes it a challenge for casino owners and a bargain for casino buyers. Branson addressed this subject in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal saying, “The price you pay is a lot different (than a Strip hotel).”
One fact that was missing from Branson’s splashy introduction to the Las Vegas casino scene, which included DJs and scantily clad women, was the price he and his partners paid for the property. In classic Branson fashion, the iconic entrepreneur skirted the question of cash by telling the gathered media, “We’re not going to make this a boring business talk. But I’m sure somebody can let you know some other time.”
Branson plans on keeping the hotel open during its renovation and is expected to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the property’s face lift.