One million shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd. were purchased on the open market by billionaire founder Steve Wynn, the owner of casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. The stock rose 13 percent after the purchase leading the S&P 500. The purchase cements Wynn’s status as his company’s largest individual stockholder.
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the casino company rose to $69.91 by market close in New York, making it Standard & Poor’s 500 Index top performer on Wednesday. The shares were purchased by the company’s and chief executive officer and chairman between December 4 and December 8 on the open market, according to a statement Tuesday. The timing of the purchase suggests a buying price maximum of $66.5 million. That estimate is based on the stocks intraday high during the time frame, according to Bloomberg.
In a research note on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Carlo Santarelli said, “Anytime a CEO buys a meaningful stake it sends a favorable message.” The analyst added that the purchase was Wynn’s first sizable, open market buy in some time. Wynn now owns 11.07 million shares of his namesake casino company’s stock, or close to 11 percent of the total. According to Steve Wynn’s spokesman, Michael Weaver, under the terms of an agreement with Wynn’s ex-wife Elaine Wynn, the company’s owner’s ability to sell shares is limited. This year, Wynn Resorts Ltd. stock is down 53 percent.
This year in Macau, the world’s largest casino market, gambling revenue has plunged 36 percent. A drop of approximately 5 percent for 2016 was predicted by Fitch Ratings on December 7. The personal commitment from Wynn may be a sign that the worst of the revenue lows may have subsided in Macau. A new Wynn property is scheduled to open in Macau in June and last quarter 59 percent of Wynn Resort’s revenue was generated there.
The company’s new $4.1 billion Wynn Palace resort in Cotai is one of several that casino owners in the region plan to open next year. The newest Macau casino was scheduled to open in March, but when the project’s general contractor, Leighton Holdings Ltd., notified Wynn that the development could not be completed by March the company changed the opening date to June 25, 2016.
A steep decline in betting has been experienced in the Chinese territory due to the crackdown on corruption in the country. Hopefully, new venues, such as the Wynn Palace in Coati, will help change that in Macau.