Luxury hotel chain submits bid for The Regent!

Jul 24, 2001 8:51 AM

A Los Angeles-based operator of luxury resorts has taken the lead in bidding for the Regent Las Vegas.

Maritz, Wolff & Co.’s cash offer of $80 million was accepted by the Regent’s board Monday, said Lanis O’Steen, chief restructuring officer at the Summerlin hotel-casino.

Though smaller than an earlier bid from PDS Gaming-Heller Financial, the Maritz, Wolff offer is a cleaner deal with fewer strings attached, O’Steen told GamingToday. “This is a very positive step. It’s all there,’’ he said.

But before any purchase can be consummated, a federal bankruptcy judge must approve. If the court follows the Regent’s recommendation at a scheduled Aug. 9 hearing, Maritz, Wolff would be designated the new “stalking horse bidder.’’ Then competitors ”” who have numbered a dozen or more ”” will have 30 days to top the offer. The stalking horse retains the right to counter any higher offers.

Maritz, Wolff, a privately held firm co-founded by William Maritz, has a major stake in 20 hotels nationwide ”” but no gaming properties. Among its holdings: the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and six Four Seasons hotels. It also has a stake in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts along with an affiliate of billionaire Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal and co-owns Rosewood Hotels & Resorts with Caroline Hunt, daughter of the late billionaire H.L. Hunt. Maritz and Rosewood are buying the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

Other investments include office buildings, restaurants, and sports teams. Sister firm Wolff DiNapoli buys, develops and manages the properties.

O’Steen speculated that the Regent would be “rebranded” if the Maritz bid prevails. Since the company is not experienced with gaming, it’s also likely that an outside casino operator would be retained. Company officials were not available to comment on their plans.

The 461-room Regent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December. The 2-year-old resort, owned by Swiss Casinos of America, owes $300 million to creditors.

In the past two months, Peccole Nevada and PDS-Heller have vied to be the stalking horse bidders. But Peccole’s effort was hampered when Heller parted ways with the local developer earlier this month. PDS, which holds $41 million in slot leases at the Regent, has said its financing package would slash the resort’s $1.4 million monthly payments in half.