Venetian proposes investments to fund new tower

May 7, 2002 5:24 AM

Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Casino Resort LLC and Las Vegas Sands Inc. are knocking on the door of Wall Street investors to develop the funds needed to go forward with the next phase of construction at its Las Vegas Strip property.

The companies announced Monday they plan to offer approximately $850 million of mortgage notes and to establish a new $480 million credit facility.

With the proceeds from these proposed offerings and borrowings, The Venetian plans to finance the construction and development of a 1,000-room addition to its existing casino resort. Also the project will include additional meeting and conference space and an expansion of the parking garage.

Funds also will be used to pay all fees and expenses associated with these transactions as well as redeeming existing bank credit facilities, its furniture, fixtures and equipment credit facility, its mall debt and certain other indebtedness. The company hopes to close on the refinancing by the second quarter of this fiscal year.

The tender offer is due to expire at midnight, New York City time, on June 3, unless extended.

Good timing

Expansion of The Venetian could signal a resurgence of growth on the Las Vegas Strip with Steve Wynn preparing to announce next month the final plans to finance his $1.6 billion La Reve.

Although Wynn previously asserted he would never again offer equity in his companies, he backed off a bit last week saying that Wall Street has changed and that he may offer a combination of both bonds and equity and his financial package.

Help could be on the way, as well. His partner in the project, Kazuo Okada, owner of Aruze Corp., Japan’s largest manufacturer of pseudo-gaming machines called pachinkos, was cleared of tax complaints. This should clear the way for a suitability hearing before the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Insider

Two Las Vegas gaming companies have become the latest firms to drop Arthur Andersen as their corporate accountant. Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) has replaced Andersen with Deloitte & Touche while Mikohn Gaming Corp. (MIKN) didn’t immediately announce a successor company.

Revenues were up 3.2% in April for the dozen casinos in Atlantic City.

Insider sales listed with the Security & Exchange Commission indicated that Alex Yemenidjian, former COO of MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) and now CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM) plans to sell $8.2 million worth of shares in the casino company where he formerly labored. Also listed was Gary Loveman, COO of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. who indicated he had sold about 250,000 shares valued at about $12.5 million.

GTECH Holdings Corp. (GTK) announced Monday it would split its common stock 2-1 as of May 23 to shareholders of record on May 16.

Jason Ader of Bear Stearns has reiterated his "buy" rating on Magna Entertainment Corp. (MIEC).

The Las Vegas Hilton, a property owned by Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE) has announced a "Hometown Hot Spot" program to attract more local residents to its property.