A week after private equity giant Apollo Global Management said it was selling its 22 percent ownership in gaming equipment provider AGS, its two representatives on the Las Vegas-based company’s board departed their positions.
The resignations of Apollo Partner and Co-Head of Private Equity David Sambur, who served as AGS chairman, and Apollo Partner Daniel Cohen were not a surprise, given the firm’s stock sale, which closed last week. The announcement came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apollo held the ownership stake in AGS since 2013. During that time, Apollo directed the acquisition of 20 different gaming businesses, the largest being slot designer and supplier Cadillac Jack in 2015. Apollo also took AGS public in January 2018.
Apollo’s 8.2 million shares of AGS were sold for $41 million last week according to an SEC filing. Shares of AGS, traded on the Nasdaq, closed at $5.32 on Tuesday.
Stifel Financial gaming analyst Jeffrey Stantial told investors in the research note that AGS shares had suffered because of Apollo’s ownership stake.
“We believe Apollo’s exit could open up additional markets for AGS, as gaming licensing requirements in certain states likely proved too extensive for Apollo to go through given a planned eventual exit,” Stantial wrote.
B Riley Securities gaming analyst David Bain said commercial and tribal casino operators have increased their purchasing of new slot machines following historically low sales during the pandemic. The lack of sales earlier this year created year-end “use it or lose it” budgets for casino slot floor executives.
“Operators cite a more acute focus on the casino floor as many hit record (cash flow) out of COVID with gaming floors as the engine and a lower non-gaming amenity mix,” Bain wrote in a research note.
AGS has six remaining board members, including CEO David Lopez. Other board members include former Monarch Casinos executive David Farahi, former Mandalay Resort Group general counsel Yvette Landeau, former Multimedia Games CFO Adam Chibib, former gaming analyst Anna Massion and former American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman.
In the SEC filing, the company did not say when or if new board members would be appointed.
In February, Apollo paid $2.25 billion for the operations of the Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo as part of a $6.25 billion purchase from Las Vegas Sands Corp. Real estate investment trust VICI paid $4 billion for the land and buildings.
Las Vegas Sands provided Apollo with $1.2 billion of seller financing, with the private equity company putting up another $1.05 billion in cash and financing.
Stantial said Apollo’s “at-times controversial history in the gaming industry” was also an overhang on AGS.
Apollo previously owned Caesars Entertainment but sold the holdings in 2019, two years after the completion of a complicated two-year Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring that changed Caesars’ ownership structure and wiped $16 billion of the company’s pre-bankruptcy $25.6 billion in debt off the books.