Seminole Tribe Buys Hard Rock International

By Felix DoBosz

NEW YORK, NY — The press conference was about to begin in the Times Square Hard Rock Café as anxious reporters and photographers representing media from the four corners of the globe gathered for a big important business announcement. On this historic day, Dec, 7, the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced to the world that they have contracted to purchase from Rank Group of Britain the Hard Rock International Inc., for $965 million.

This huge acquisition of the 35 year old world famous music theme chain of restaurants, retail stores, hotels, and casino’s that includes 124 signature Hard Rock Cafés in 45 countries. It also includes Hard Rock’s priceless, authentic rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection, brand and licensing rights to all Hard Rock merchandise and the Hard Rock Live venues.

The Hard Rock’s more than 7,000 employees will now be employed indirectly by the Seminole Tribe.

This is believed to be the largest purchase ever by a Native American Tribe of an International corporation. The Rank Group offered to sell the Hard Rock after entertaining more than 70 bids worldwide since the summer, saying they want to focus on their own casino operations.

It’s no secret that the Tribe has been determined to diversify into other businesses besides gambling to protect what has been achieved so far while increasing revenue flow. The deal is going to be financed through the Tribe’s equity and newly formed company, tentatively called Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, to debt issued bonds.

Speakers included Brighton Council Representative Andrew Bowers and Hollywood Council Representative Max B. Osceola Jr., who said jokingly, “Who would have thunk it!”

“Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets,” Osceola said. “We’re going to buy Manhattan back, one burger at a time.”

He went on to say he was proud of this historic day for the Seminole Tribe and how the Tribe has come a long way since opening the first Bingo halls on the reservations back in 1979. A black and white five minute video was shown of the origins and history of the Seminole Tribe to warm applause.

James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming, also spoke at the news gathering. Hard Rock President and CEO Hamish Dodds, who oversees all aspects of the Hard Rock International, said a few kind words about his relationship with the Tribe. Dodds presented Bowers and Osceola with the original priceless Gibson six string acoustic guitar that Hank Williams Sr. used to play from WWII days.

Also attending the news conference Trail Liaison William Osceola, who agreed that this was a great day for all Seminole people.

“I grew up in a chickee, we are the last of a generation, today its different, the young kids today, they don’t know how it was, we’ve come along ways to be here today, you got to remember the old ways and the new ways, you’ve got to combine them both, ” he said.

Bobby Frank from Broadcasting department said: “This was a big surprise. It’s a special day for the Tribe and a great endeavor for the Tribe to be taking this giant leap forward for the future of our Tribe by this great expansion and will benefit our Tribal members, young and old, with new opportunities.”

The closing for this business deal is scheduled for March 2007.