MGM Mirage (MGM, Bellagio, Mirage) launched a $4.85 billion bid for Mandalay Resort Group (Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur). When in Vegas, I always seem to think how huge and giant the corporations that run these places must be, but whenever I hear news like this, it reminds me of how small and isolated the casino industry is. Mandalay’s market cap is some $6.5 billion as is MGM’s. While not too shabby, Linux company RedHat is a square $5 billion or retailer Bed Bath and Beyond is at $10.9 billion. You’d never walk in to a Bed Bath and Beyond store and say, “wow, now this is money!” as you would when you walked in to Bellagio. It quite proves the point that wealth is a generated illusion.
The other thing that always intrigues me about the business of Las Vegas is the characters and people who pretty much forged this desert town in to an international destination. People like Steve Wynn, who started in the casino business by strong arming his way in to ownership of the Golden Nugget and launching from there a domination empire the capped at the building of the Bellagio. Even more impressive is Kirk Kerorian, who launched an airline, sold it, bought up a huge amount of land in Vegas to build his first hotel, sold it, bought up stock in MGM the movie studio (and eventually owned it), used that company to build the MGM casino (which is now Baileys) and lots of other stuff on his way to becoming a multi-billionare. Check out The First 100 for a good background on the building of Vegas.