Steve Wynn Sells Remaining Wynn Resorts Shares
Steve Wynn sold 12.1 million shares of Wynn Resorts over the past 2 days, divesting himself of his entire stake in the company he founded 16 years ago. Steve Wynn sold 4.1 million shares on Wednesday, then followed that selloff by ridding himself of the remaining 8 million shares of Wynn stock he owned on Thursday.
Thus, Wynn Resorts and Steve Wynn no longer have any connection whatsoever. The only Wynn who owns company stock anymore is Elaine Wynn, the former casino executive’s estranged former wife and sometime arch-enemy.
The move comes 6 and 1/2 weeks after Wynn stepped down as CEO and chairman of the casino and hotel company which bears his name. He left the board of directors at the same time, roughly two weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the former casino mogul.
In a statement to Forbes on Thursday, Steve Wynn representative Lin Wood said, “Mr. Wynn does not wish to be a participant in the current media frenzy related to his personal and business matters and, therefore, declines comment.”
Allegations Against Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn’s lawyer added, “Based on my review of the multitude of articles recently published about him, I do not believe that the atmosphere lends itself to fairness and, in many instances, to accuracy.”
Those articles came from multiple sources. WSJ had several follow-up articles detailing various allegations against Steve Wynn. British tabloids like the Daily Mail ran several stories a week with new charges. The Las Vegas Review-Journal also disclosed allegations that the newspaper buried back in 1998, when Nevada’s paper with the largest publication was under different management. The writer on the 1998 story was told to destroy her news copy, but preserved it for 20 years, because she thought it might one day be important.
Steve Wynn’s Casino Career
Only two months ago, the 76-year old Steve Wynn was riding high. His 50-year career in Las Vegas casinos saw him reach a pinnacle in 2017. Wynn had been on the Forbes list of billionaires since 2004. He owned various properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including Wynn Las Vegas. The executive’s company also had its lucrative Chinese casino, Wynn Macau, while it had opened a $4 billion luxury resort on the Cotai Pensinsula, the Wynn Palace, in 2016.
Work was proceeding apace on the Wynn Boston Harbor, a $2.4 billion casino development in the Boston suburb of Everett. Steve Wynn was a frequent analyst on Fox News. His old rival and current friend, Donald Trump, was the newly elected president of the United States. Steve Wynn was the Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee and had generated record donations during his single year in the position. Two months later, Steve Wynn has lost all his positions, while he’s out of the industry he helped shape for the past half-century.
Steve Wynn Worth $3 Billion
Of course, falls from grace can be relative. After the sell-off of 12 million shares of Wynn Resorts stock, Steve Wynn still is probably worth roughly $3 billion. While his reputation had taken a drubbing, most of the charges appear to be beyond the statute of limitations or otherwise un-provable.
Wednesday’s sell of 4+ million shares of Wynn Resorts stock had been expected. Due to regulatory probes by the Nevada Gaming Commission, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and Macau Inspection Bureau, it had been reported that Wynn Resorts needed someone else to be the largest shareholder in the company.
Elaine Wynn Top Shareholder
The Wednesday divestiture meant Elaine Wynn, Steve Wynn’s estranged ex-wife, was now the company’s largest shareholder. That same day, she gave a statement indicating she had a number of suggestions and requests of the Wynn Resorts board of directors. Elaine Wynn and Steve Wynn earlier this week had agreed to settle their long legal dispute, allowing her to sell $1.6 billion in stock.
Last week, Wynn Resorts bought $2 billion of shares from Universal Entertainment Company, the Japanese gaming machine manufacturer once owned by Kazuo Okada. Okada was once a business partner of Steve Wynn and major shareholder of Wynn Resorts, but had been forced off the board in 2010. Back in 2012, when he still was CEO of Universal Entertainment, Okada sued Wynn Resorts, trying to gain the right to cash out his shares earlier. A bribery scandal led Okada to leave Universal, but his old company finally settled the dispute with Wynn Resorts.
Wynn Resorts Buyout?
That allowed Steve Wynn to clear the way for his own sell of Wynn shares. Against the backdrop of Steve Wynn’s departure, financial analysts now include Wynn Resorts on their list of companies primed for a buyout. While buyout talk is merely in the stage of media rumors at this point, various experts have suggested Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts, or Melco International might be natural choices to buy Steve Wynn’s former casino company.
If so, it is entirely possible that the “Wynn” name might disappear from the many casino developments Steve Wynn built over the years. Already, Boston area groups have called for the name Wynn to disappear from the Wynn Boston Harbor. The locals do not want to see an accused sexual harasser’s name in neon lights.