updated 4/23/2007 11:24:27 AM ET 2007-04-23T15:24:27

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is selling the Stratosphere and three other southern Nevada casinos to an affiliate of the investment firm Goldman Sachs for $1.3 billion.

Along with the tallest structure on the Las Vegas Strip, the sale announced Monday of American Casino & Entertainment Properties LLC would include two Arizona Charlie’s casinos off the Strip in Las Vegas and the Aquarius Casino Resort in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin.

The deal between American Real Estate Properties Corp., a unit of Icahn’s American Real Estate Partners LP, and Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds also includes 17 acres of undeveloped land surrounding the Stratosphere.

The Stratosphere includes a 2,444-room hotel and separate 1,149-foot tower resembling the Space Needle in Seattle.

“We believe that this sale represents an opportunity for American Real Estate Partners to take advantage of the current favorable market environment for gaming assets and to realize significant gains on our multiyear investment in the industry,” Icahn, chairman and general partner of American Real Estate Partners, said in a statement.

American Real Estate and American Casino & Entertainment officials did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs in New York declined comment.

American Real Estate Properties said it anticipated a gain of about $1 billion on its investments in American Casino & Entertainment.

The deal is expected to close in about eight months, subject to approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada State Gaming Control Board.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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