Las Vegas Sands shares rise on possible Macau IPO

May 16, 2009 1:02 AM
Staff & Wire Reports |

Shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. surged Friday after media reports indicated that the casino operator is planning an initial public offering of its Macau assets.

Las Vegas Sands, led by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is said to have hired Goldman Sachs to help with the spinoff process. It is likely to list the IPO in Hong Kong, according to a Dow Jones report citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation.

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A Las Vegas Sands representative declined to comment on the report.

If true, the move would not come as a complete surprise. On Tuesday, JPMorgan analyst Joseph Greff predicted that the Las Vegas-based company might try to sell assets, such as units at its Four Seasons hotel in Macau and Asian retail malls.

Las Vegas Sands even indicated earlier in the month that such an action was possible, saying it was continuing to explore the sale of its noncore assets. The company also said that it was in talks with some parties interested in taking minority stakes in its Macau developments.

The potential IPO could help relieve Las Vegas Sands of some of its debt burden, which totaled $10.41 billion at the first quarter's end. It has no significant maturities until May 2011.

Las Vegas Sands also runs the Sands Macao and Venetian Macau. Greff thought it would be very unlikely for the Sands Macao casino resort to be considered for a sale or sale-leaseback.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands jumped as much as 12 percent before retreating to a more modest advance of 28 cents, or 3 percent, to $9.71. Over the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $1.38 to $76.50.

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