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Howard Stutz

Wynn Resorts investor reduces ownership stake

14 July 2015

Investment firm T. Rowe Price Group, once the largest single shareholder in Wynn Resorts Ltd., has reduced its stake to 4.6 percent after the firm's second massive sell-off since April.

The firm once owned 17 million shares, or 16.8 percent of the company. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price said it now owns 4.7 million shares. The company did not give a reason for a sale.

In April, T. Rowe Price reduced its ownership stake by 40 percent, selling almost 7 million shares.

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver declined comment on the T. Rowe Price stock sale.

The move comes as Wynn Resorts continues to face added pressure in Macau, where the company earns more than 65 percent of its annual revenue and cash flow. The Macau gaming market is down more than 37 percent this year, and revenue has fallen 13 straight months.

Wynn Resorts operates two properties in Macau, and a third, the $4.1 billion Wynn Palace, is scheduled to open in the first half of next year on the Cotai Strip. It's one of more than $20 billion in projects -- including developments by Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International -- that casino operators plan to open in Macau by 2017.

The stock sale by T. Rowe Price left Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn as the company's largest stockholder. Wynn, 73, owns just under 10 percent of the company's shares. However, his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, also owns just under 10 percent, although Steve Wynn 500,000 more shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Steve Wynn controls the voting rights of his ex-wife's shares through a stockholders agreement that she is contesting.

In April, T. Rowe Price voted in support of the company's board against Elaine Wynn's proxy to remain on the board after she wasn't re-nominated for a seat she has held on the panel since the company was formed.

Combined, Steve Wynn and Elaine Wynn control 19.3 percent of Wynn Resorts.

The sale by T. Rowe Price comes as Wynn Resorts' stock has been challenged. Shares in the company have fallen by some 30 percent this year. Twice in the past month, Wynn's stock price has fallen below $100 a share, its lowest price in five years.

Wynn shares fell more than 1 percent Friday on the Nasdaq to close at $103.90 after the T. Rowe Price filing. On Monday, Wynn's shares closed at $107.90, up $4 or 3.95 percent, on news that Macau may soften its possible smoking ban inside casinos.
Wynn Resorts investor reduces ownership stake is republished from