Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. agreed to buy a stake in Wynn Resorts Ltd., in a surprise move linking two of the biggest operators in Macau and Las Vegas that could reshape the gaming landscape in the Chinese territory.
The investment comes as Steve Wynn separately sold his remaining 8 million shares in Wynn Resorts, eliminating one of his last ties to the casino company he founded after quitting last month amid sexual harassment allegations. Wynn Resorts sold 5.3 million newly issued shares of common stock to Galaxy, giving the competing Macau casino operator an estimated 5 percent stake in the company, according to a statement Thursday. The new shares were sold at close to market price at $175 each, for a total of about $927.5 million.
“This is a unique opportunity to acquire an investment in a globally recognized entertainment corporation with exceptionally high-quality assets and a significant development pipeline,” Galaxy Entertainment Group Vice Chairman Francis Lui said in a statement.
The agreement, linking the largest Macau operator with a major Las Vegas pioneer, could shake up Macau’s gaming industry at a pivotal time as the world’s biggest gaming hub unveils plans in coming months on how it will review and give out operating licenses. The tie-up could be an opening for a local operator to win more of the $33-billion gaming industry that’s been overshadowed by US operators.
Galaxy’s investment in Wynn follows its expansion plans beyond Macau. It received a casino license with a local partner in the Philippines this month to build a $500-million resort in Boracay, and is also looking at a potential opportunity to enter the Japanese market after the country legalized casino gambling.
Wynn Resorts plans to use the proceeds to repay an $800-million loan it took out to settle a longstanding feud with Universal Entertainment Corp., one of its original investors.