The largest individual shareholder in casino developer and operator Wynn Resorts Ltd has cut its stake in the casino company by almost 40 percent, according to a filing to Nasdaq on Monday.
T. Rowe Price Group Inc, a mutual fund investor, now holds 10.4 million shares of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts. That is down from the just under 17.1 million it held up to February 13 this year as listed in Wynn Resorts’ proxy filing of February 27.
The same February 27 filing said Steve Wynn, chairman of the firm, held approximately 10.1 million shares, or 9.9 percent of the company, while his ex-wife Elaine Wynn held as of that date approximately 9.5 million shares, or 9.4 percent, of Wynn Resorts.
The question of Ms Wynn’s voting rights in relation to her shares – i.e. whether she could or should be compelled to vote them alongside Mr Wynn’s stake – was one issue raised in the recent proxy battle between the ex-couple. It saw the company decline to recommend her nomination for re-election to the board. She stood as an independent, but lost the April 24 vote.
Despite T. Rowe Price’s reduction of its holding, Mr Wynn would still need support of other parties among the shareholders to command a voting majority.
“We continue to have a positive, ongoing relationship” with T. Rowe Price, Michael Weaver, a Wynn Resorts spokesman, said in an email to Bloomberg on Monday.
Wynn Resorts fell 3.2 percent to US$114.08 at the close in New York on Monday. The shares have declined 23 percent this year. The company reduced its first quarter dividend by two-thirds judged year-on-year to US$0.50 a share last month on weaker results from its Macau casino operation.
All Macau operators are experiencing cost pressures on construction bills and casino labour at a time when gambling revenue in the territory has been falling from the spectacular growth levels seen for several years up to May 2014.
The city’s gross gaming revenue declined year-on-year for the 11th month in succession in April, according to government data.
Wynn Resorts’ local unit Wynn Macau Ltd referred in a filing in Hong Kong on Sunday to its under-construction Cotai casino Wynn Palace as an “approximately US$4.1 billion” project. In a filing to Nasdaq in New York on February 27, Wynn Resorts had described Wynn Palace as “our [US]$4.1 billion casino resort”.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China