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Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands explore Hong Kong stock offering

22 July 2009

Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Wynn Resorts Ltd. today confirmed it joined Las Vegas Sands Corp. in exploring a potential public stock offering in Hong Kong -- apparently to be backed by some of its assets in the Chinese gambling district of Macau.

Wynn Resorts said a subsidiary filed an application with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in connection with a possible listing on the exchange.

"No decisions have yet been made regarding the timing or terms of any such offering or whether the subsidiary will ultimately proceed with such a transaction," Wynn Resorts said in a regulatory filing.

The Wall Street Journal today reported Wynn could raise $1 billion to $2 billion by spinning off some of the Macau assets into a new company with stock traded on the Hong Kong exchange.

Reuters reported Wynn and Sands may tap renewed enthusiasm for IPOs in the Hong Kong market and that the U.S. casino resort operators may be trying to gain cash to bolster their finances that have been affected by weakness in the Las Vegas market.

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Robert LaFleur said Wynn's approach is likely different than Sands as Wynn does not need funding to finish any current projects. Las Vegas Sands needs about $2 billion to finish its latest Macau hotel and casino project.

"Wynn has been very opportunistic over the years in taking advantage of favorable market conditions to issue equity and/or debt, and clearly the Hong Kong market is hot and the IPO window is apparently open," LaFleur wrote in a client note.

LaFleur does not expect Wynn to put more than 50 percent of its Macau assets into the IPO.

Las Vegas Sands has confirmed it's looking at possible transactions in Macau and on Monday, Bloomberg News reported the company plans to apply for an IPO in Hong Kong next month.

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