Harrah’s In Bid For Planet Hollywood Resort

Harrah’s Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said his company is trying to buy the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas.

In an e-mail to employees obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Loveman said his company’s interest stems from the fact that Planet Hollywood sits at the end of a line of Harrah’s-owned casinos in Las Vegas.

“This is an attractive proposition because of Planet Hollywood’s proximity to our other resorts on the Strip, its high-quality product offering and its strong brand name,” Loveman wrote.

“This move is the latest example of our strategy to make purchases or acquisitions capitalizing on opportunities created by current economic conditions,” he added.

The company also owns Harrah’s Las Vegas, Imperial Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.

The Review-Journal reported in September that Harrah’s was buying some of the property’s $860 million debt, which is currently in default. At the time, Harrah’s controlled nearly $140 million of the property’s debt.

“As a result of our purchase of their debt, we are working on a plan that also would allow Harrah’s to own and manage the property,” Loveman wrote.

The acquisition of the 35-acre Planet Hollywood would add about 2,500 hotel rooms to Harrah’s inventory of 20,370 rooms on or near the Strip.

It also would give Harrah’s control of all 126 acres between Flamingo Road and Harmon Avenue.

Planet Hollywood officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Planet Hollywood Resort is owned by a partnership between restaurateur Robert Earl and private equity firm Bay Harbour Management. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide holds a minority share in the property and manages the hotel’s food and beverage operations.