MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) was a company that many figured would get gobbled up during the casino grab days of the private equity bubble. We all know what happened, and at one point in the selling craze of 2009 there even became viability fears.
If there was one man who could have pulled off the buyout it was Kirk Kerkorian. Kerkorian has been the largest holder of MGM. Now he is leaving the board of directors and will just become an advisor as Director Emeritus. He will be able to attend board meetings but will not have a board vote.
Kerkorian led the charge in the last decade or so with the acquisition of Mirage Resorts and then again when the then MGM MIRAGE merged with Mandalay Resort Group. This monster project of the City Center was almost more elephant than the lions could chew. MGM has also just effectively taken control of their Macau operations after reaching a deal with Pansy Ho ahead of its IPO.
It was always a possibility that Kerkorian would take MGM private, but sales and age have taken that thought farther and farther away. What is amazing is that Kerkorian is 93 years old and his Tracinda entity still owns about 27% of MGM.
It looks like Wall Street doesn’t care. MGM shares are up 1.4% at $13.90 today and trading volume is not off the charts.
JON C. OGG