Las Vegas casinos have been slammed hard by the recession, but Wynn Resorts shares have more than tripled from a March low. Now, Steve and Elaine Wynn have cashed in some of that jackpot with a whopping $114 million stock sale to raise cash ahead of their impending divorce.
The couple sold two million shares of the company’s common stock on Aug. 14 at an average price of $57 per share. Steve Wynn is Wynn Resorts’ chairman and chief executive officer and Elaine Wynn is a director of the company. The Wynns, who now hold 46.7 million shares directly and through an interest in Aruze USA, have cut their stake in the company to 37.9% from 39.6% with the sale.
The divorce would be the couple’s second. They divorced in 1986, but never separated and remarried in 1991.
Wynn Resorts operates Wynn Las Vegas and Encore hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip and another resort and casino in Macau. All properties suffered when the recession hit and corporations and individuals curtailed luxury spending.
The company’s stock price traded for as little as $14.50 in early March, but that was an inflection point. Wynn Resorts closed at $54.85 recently.
For the year-to-date, Wynn Resorts shares are up 30%. Competitors Las Vegas Sands and MGM Mirage haven’t fared as well, gaining 18% and falling 39%, respectively.
In July, Wynn Resorts surprised Wall Street by reporting a second-quarter profit, aided by aggressive cost cutting.
Lon Juricic, president of StreetInsider.com, says the divorce situation means investors shouldn’t read too much into the sale.