Hedge fund acquires 5 percent stake in Wynn Resorts

August 31, 2018 4:32 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
August 31, 2018 4:32 PM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

A New York-based hedge fund has acquired a 5.13 percent stake in Wynn Resorts, saying in a securities filing it was taking a passive role in the investment.

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Melvin Capital said Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has it increased its holding of the Las Vegas-based casino operator, up from 0.5 percent at the end of June. The filing did not state when the shares were acquired or how much the fund paid for the shares. The fund now holds more than 5.77 million shares.

According to Bloomberg, Melvin Capital Management is run by Gabe Plotkin, who was formerly with SAC Capital.

“The securities referred to above were not acquired and are not held for the purpose of or with the effect of changing or influencing the control of the issuer of the securities,” the filing stated.

Wynn shares closed at $148.34 on the Nasdaq Friday, down 19 cents or 0.13 percent. The SEC filing was made public Friday morning.

The company, which operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau and is building a $2.4 billion resort complex near Boston, has been in constant upheaval since February, when company founder Steve Wynn stepped down as chairman and CEO following a report of sexual harassment allegations by the Wall Street Journal.

He sold his entire 12 percent stake in March for $2.1 billion. Hong Kong-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment bought a 4.9 percent stake in Wynn in March.

Since that time, the Wynn Resorts board of directors has been remade, with more than half the board joining this year.

Elaine Wynn – the company’s largest shareholder – signed a “Standstill Period” that ends in 2020 and agreed to cap her ownership stake at her current 9.9 percent.

Gaming industry veteran Phil Satre was named vice chairman of the company in early August and is expected to be named chairman by the end of the year. Current board chairman D. Boone Wayson will step down as chairman but will remain as a board member.

In April the company added three women to its board – former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, three-time CEO Betsy Atkins, and Kestrel Advisors CEO Winifred “Wendy” Webb – who joined current board member Pat Mulroy, making Wynn among the top 40 S&P 500 companies for female board representation.

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox was also named to the board this month.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgamingreports.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.