Nightclub operator Hakkasan acquiring Light Group in $36 million deal

Real estate investment trusts could become a popular trend among local casino companies if MGM Resorts International, which owns MGM Grand (above), forms one. Already, Caesars Entertainment has asked a bankruptcy judge to allow the company to adopt the structure, and Penn National Gaming formed one for many of its properties, including the M Resort.

Hakkasan Group initiated a major shakeup of the Strip’s nightlife business today with plans to acquire another prominent nightlife company, The Light Group, for $36 million.

Morgans Hotel Group released a statement today announcing that it has entered into an agreement with Hakkasan to sell The Light Group, which operates nightlife spots including Light at Mandalay Bay and 1 OAK at the Mirage.

Las Vegas Sun and Vegas DeLuxe entertainment reporter Robin Leach first reported Friday night that Hakkasan was taking over Light Group properties.

The $36 million purchase price covers both Morgans' 90 percent controlling interest and the remaining 10 percent equity interest held by Light Group founder Andrew Sasson and CEO Andy Masi, according to the statement.​

Morgans said its board of directors has already approved the transaction as part of the company’s “ongoing review of strategic alternatives to maximize value for stockholders.”

“Not only does the transaction strengthen Morgans Hotel Group’s financial position, but we will also have an enhanced focus on our core assets,” said Jason Kalisman, interim CEO of Morgans Hotel Group.

The sale increases Hakkasan’s presence on the Strip and specifically among the properties owned by casino giant MGM Resorts International. Hakkasan’s nightclub of the same name opened at the MGM Grand in 2013, and all of The Light Group’s venues are inside other MGM properties.

“The acquisition of a majority stake in The Light Group is another step forward in our ambitious investment strategy to deliver exceptional guest experiences,” Hakkasan Group CEO Neil Moffitt said in the statement.

Moffitt said the sale makes Hakkasan Group “Las Vegas’ largest non-gaming dining, entertainment and hospitality company.”

He called both companies “highly complementary businesses” and said “we intend to assume and maintain the vast majority of The Light Group’s contracts, licenses and events.”

Through a spokesperson, MGM Resorts praised the sale but reflected positively on its experience with The Light Group.

“We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with The Light Group and recognize them and their team for their extraordinary contributions and the lasting impact they have made on Las Vegas,” the MGM statement said. “We look forward to working with our partners at Hakkasan Group to ensure a seamless transition as they complete this acquisition.”

The sale is expected to close in January.