New York real estate magnate Donald Trump has made an offer to purchase Hilton Hotel Corp.'s almost-finished hotel-casino in Atlantic City, in which Hilton has invested more than $300 million but for which it has been unable to get a casino license.
Hilton, which is battling a takeover bid from another hotel and casino concern, Golden Nugget Inc., said it was negotiating with Trump over the possible sale of the huge Atlantic City property, which will be one of the largest hotels in the world.
New Jersey officials have balked at granting Hilton a casino license to run the facility because of the company's alleged ties to an organized crime figure. The state Casino Control Commission is reconsidering Hilton's application.
Trump and partners already own a hotel-casino in the New Jersey resort, the Trump Plaza. But Trump said he would be the sole owner of the Hilton property if a purchase can be negotiated. He would not say how much money he is offering for the hotel, but Hilton said it expected to make a "clear, short-term profit" on the transaction.
"It's a negotiation that is taking place," Trump said in a telephone interview. "It's a deal that we will hopefully have in pretty good wraps in a fairly short period of time."
Trump declined to speculate how long it might take to complete the deal. But Hilton said one of the reasons it was interested in selling the hotel was because it feared it will not be able to get a casino license until "well into the summer, the time when a substantial portion of the Atlantic City gaming business takes place."
Hilton's problems with its Atlantic City project prompted a takeover offer from Golden Nugget earlier this month. Golden Nugget has offered to buy a 27 percent stake in Hilton, held by the estate of founder Conrad Hilton. That purchase would be the first step in a $1.8 billion takeover of the entire hotel chain. In making its offer, which Hilton has rejected and many analysts scoffed at, Golden Nugget said it hoped its record as operator of hotel-casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas would clear the way for the licensing of Hilton's Atlantic City venture under Golden Nugget ownership.