Hard Rock International to Buy Shuttered Trump Taj Mahal

Posted on: March 2, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: March 2, 2017, 09:26h.

Carl Icahn will sell the Trump Taj Mahal to a consortium of investors led by Hard Rock International. The property will remain a casino and will be rebranded the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City as part of a $300 million sale and renovation deal, expected to create 3,000 temporary and permanent jobs.

Carl Icahn Sells Trump Taj to Hard Rock International
Carl Icahn appears to have broken around even on his ill-fated rescue attempt of the Trump Taj Mahal, which he is selling for $300 million. (Image: CNN)

Around 2,100 lost their jobs when Icahn closed the Taj down in October following months of industrial action, as he told the strikers he could “no longer see a path the profitability.” Icahn said in January he had plowed around $300 million into the operation, having rescued it from bankruptcy a year earlier, and would be “delighted” if he could sell it for half that.

“We… are extremely happy with our ownership of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, and after considerable analysis and deliberation we determined that we only wanted to own one operating casino property in Atlantic City,” said Icahn Enterprises in an official statement on Wednesday night. “A sale of the Taj Mahal therefore represents the optimal outcome for us. We wish Hard Rock and its partners the best of luck with the Taj Mahal.”

State of the Union

Senate President Steve Sweeney, a former union leader, said Wednesday that the sale was welcome news for Atlantic City workers who, he hoped, could look forward to “greater job security and a hopefully healthier working relationship with management,” although it is unclear whether the rebranded casino will open as a unionized property.

Sweeney sponsored a bill that sought to punish Icahn for closing down the Taj. The legislation would have disqualified operators for five years from holding a casino license for an Atlantic City property they had closed. The bill was passed by the legislature but vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

Sweeney and the UNITE HERE Local 54 union suspected, wrongly as it turned out, that Icahn had closed the Taj with a view to reopening it as a non-unionized property.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida and operates numerous casino around the world, although not the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

It also owns over 150 Hard Rock cafes across the globe.    

“We’re excited to be part of such an important project for Atlantic City,” the company said in a statement. “This project is led by a proven leader in gaming, brings hundreds of millions in new investment, creates hundreds of construction positions, countless positions within the Hard Rock Hotel and will bring thousands and thousands of new visitors to this great city.”