Kerkorian group seeks Vegas hotel

Investment firm Tracinda also mulls restructuring of ownership in Bellagio's parent, MGM Mirage.

NEW YORK ( -- Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's investment vehicle Tracinda Corp. announced Monday it intends to enter talks buy MGM Mirage's Bellagio Hotel and Casino and City Center properties in Las Vegas.

The investment firm disclosed it is considering "strategic alternatives," including a restructuring transaction, for its investment in MGM Mirage (up $0.15 to $62.95, Charts, Fortune 500), although it has not yet made a decision and reserves the right "not to engage in or approve any transaction."

MGM Mirage shares rose 14 percent in after-hours trading on the announcement.

Kerkorian has had a long history - dating back to 1969 - of buying, then selling, shares of MGM Mirage, a company in which Tracinda is the largest shareholder.

In January, Tracinda tried to increase its stake in MGM Mirage to more than 61 percent but failed to buy all the shares it wanted. It owned 55.9 percent of MGM Mirage as of January 11.

Tracinda recently made an unsuccessful bid for troubled automaker Chrysler, a company in which Kerkorian was once the largest shareholder. Earlier this month, current parent DaimlerChrysler (Charts) announced the acceptance of a $7.4 billion bid for Chrysler from private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

In 2005, Kerkorian became a shareholder of General Motors and boosted his stake to 9.9 percent. His associate, Jerome York, was put on GM's board.

Kerkorian and York pushed GM (Charts, Fortune 500) to cut pay for top executives and directors and slash its dividend in half in an effort to win support of the unions there. But he was unsuccessful in his efforts to get GM to join an alliance with Japanese automaker Nissan and French automaker Renault, which own stakes in one another and share a CEO, Carlos Ghosn.

MGM Mirage owns and operates 19 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan and has investments in Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois, according to the company's Web site.

--from staff and wire reports Top of page