Steve Wynn Files to Sell, Opening Door to Takeover

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What to Expect for the Future of Wynn Resorts

Steve Wynn plans to sell some or all of his entire $2.2 billion stake in the casino company he founded, a week after settling an acrimonious court fight with his ex-wife that freed each to do as they wish with their share of the family fortune.

His plans for the 12 percent holding in Wynn Resorts Ltd. were outlined in a regulatory filing Wednesday. The 76-year old mogul “will seek to conduct such sales in an orderly fashion and in cooperation with the company,” it said. “No assurance can be provided that Mr. Wynn will elect to sell common stock.”

Steve Wynn

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The potential sale and the unwinding of the shareholder agreement that prevented Elaine Wynn from lowering her 9.3 percent stake potentially make Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts vulnerable to a takeover. Casino regulators in Nevada, Macau and Massachusetts are still investigating the company’s handling of harassment claims against Steve Wynn that were first raised in the couple’s bitter six-year court battle -- probes that could result in him being found unfit to be the largest shareholder in a casino company.

Wynn Resorts fell 2.2 percent to $180.19 at 1:09 p.m. in New York after losing as much as 2.9 percent. The stock was up 9.3 percent this year through Tuesday.

From the perspective of casino regulators, a divestiture by Wynn “de-risks the story,” according to Instinet analyst Harry Curtis. The potential sale, however, “could place a temporary overhang on the stock.”

Elaine Wynn said this week that she may seek talks with company management over a variety of matters, including strategy, business, management, capital structure and allocation, corporate governance, and board composition.

In a separate filing Wednesday, Wynn Resorts said the investigations, litigation and possibility of further allegations could distract management, hurt the company’s reputation and affect its ability to hold casino licenses.

— With assistance by Christopher Palmeri

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