Seminole Tribe Buys Hard Rock Chain

The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced yesterday that it had bought Hard Rock International for $965 million, a deal expected to close next March. The Seminoles, who currently own and operate the highly successful Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, outbid some 70 other bidders in the deal, which marks the first purchase by a Native American tribe of a major international corporation.

"Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets," said Seminole tribal council member Max B. Osceola, Jr., at yesterday's press conference at Manhattan's Hard Rock Café (where Steve Van Zandt was a surprise guest). "Now we're buying it back, one hamburger at a time."

The deal includes eight Hard Rock hotels: six in the U.S. (the Hollywood and Tampa properties, plus Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, and a soon-to-be-opened hotel in Biloxi, MS), and two overseas, in Pattaya (Thailand) and Bali (Indonesia).