U.S.-based casino operator MGM Resorts International has adopted a US$1.0 billion stock repurchase initiative, it announced in a Tuesday press release.
“Our new share repurchase programme… clearly highlights the board and management team’s firm belief in our strategic plan – the successful execution of our long-term growth prospects, our disciplined capital allocation strategy, and our ongoing commitment to maximise sustained value for our shareholders,” company chairman and chief executive Jim Murren said in a statement included in the press release.
Under the scheme, MGM Resorts “may repurchase shares from time to time in the open market or in privately negotiated agreements,” the release stated. It added: “The timing, volume and nature of stock repurchases will be at the sole discretion of management, dependent on market conditions, applicable securities laws and other factors, and may be suspended or discontinued at any time.”
MGM Resorts is the parent company of Macau-based casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd. The U.S.-based firm is also a declared candidate for a potential Japanese casino gaming licence.
Also on Tuesday, MGM Resorts announced a definitive agreement with MGM Growth Properties LLC – a publicly-traded real estate investment trust (REIT) – for the sale of MGM National Harbor, a casino resort in Maryland, near Washington D.C., in the United States. “MGM Resorts will lease the property from MGM Growth Properties and continue to operate the property following the consummation of the transaction, with no expected change to its employees, vendors, customers and the community,” the company said.
Under the deal, MGM Growth Properties will pay a total consideration of approximately US$1.19 billion for MGM National Harbor. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
MGM Resorts holds a 76-percent economic interest in MGM Growth Properties, according to Tuesday’s release. The REIT includes several properties that were previously owned by MGM Resorts – all in the United States – including in the Las Vegas Strip, in Nevada. MGM China’s venues are not part of the REIT.
MGM Resorts additionally announced the appointment of Kelly Smith as senior vice president and chief digital officer for MGM Resorts International. He will be based in Las Vegas, the United States and report to Lilian Tomovich, chief experience and marketing officer at MGM Resorts. Mr Smith will be responsible for providing strategic digital leadership to enhance guest experiences across the portfolio of MGM-owned brands.
Prior to joining MGM Resorts, Mr Smith served as vice president of global digital products for coffee shop operator Starbucks. He previously was vice president of digital for Starbucks China.
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"The six Macau casino operators should not be penalised for upping expenditure on player incentives, so long as their EBITDA margins are not materially diluted”
George Choi and Ryan Cheung
Analysts at Citigroup