Las Vegas Sands Explores a Sale of its Flagship Properties

Early Discussions of a Sale

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the world’s largest casino company, is in early discussions about the possibility of selling its Las Vegas properties. The company, owned by 87-year-old billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is working with an adviser to gauge interest in Venetian Resort Las Vegas, the Palazzo, and the Sands Expo Convention Center, which are all located along the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Together the properties could sell for $6 billion or more. Las Vegas Sands has a market value of $37.5 billion, but the company reported third-quarter losses of $565 million last week as COVID-19 continues to batter the casino industry.

Focusing on Singapore and Macau

If Sands were to sell its casinos in Las Vegas, the company’s casino portfolio would be concentrated in Macau and Singapore. US casinos are already a small part of the company’s business, generating only 15% of Sands’ $13.7 billion in revenue last year.

Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, accounted for 63% of Sands’ revenue, and Singapore generated 22%. Sands is looking to grow its presence in both Macau and Singapore, and has plans to invest $2.2 billion just in Macau. The Las Vegas sale would give the company the funds it needs to expand in Asia.

The Impact of COVID-19

Casino companies around the world are reeling from the impact of the casino closures, travel restrictions, and consumers feeling uncomfortable returning to gambling in-person. Las Vegas Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein said , ”We’re in a world of hurt here in terms of Las Vegas,” describing how the city has gone from a global gambling hub to mainly a “drive-in” destination.

In Macau, gambling revenue has also fallen sharply. During China’s Golden Week holiday in early October, traffic at the gambling hub was down 84% compared to last year. However, Las Vegas Sands’ leadership is more optimistic about recovery in Macau than in Las Vegas, one of several reasons why the company is exploring a sale of its Las Vegas properties.

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