Steve Wynn, CEO and founder of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN), has built one of the world’s largest casino companies. He is now charged with sexual harassment, first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Wynn shares dropped 10% on the news. They could have much further to fall.
Wynn shares are up 191% in the past two years to $180. Wynn’s casinos in Macau, one of the gaming capitals of the world, have been a major engine of growth, including the stock price. In November, Macau gaming sales rose over 20%.
In the quarter that ended December 31, Wynn revenue hit $1.7 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the same period a year ago. EPS were $4.77 compared to $1.12. These improvements may be interrupted in the near future.
One reason investors believe Wynn’s trouble could hurt the company is that he is the face of the company. While that may be true, other founders have been pushed out of the companies they started. That moves the issue to whether another chief executive could run the company as well. It is a fair question. However, there is more than one talented executive in the global gaming business.
The key to the future of Wynn’s shares may be what he does with is holdings. Wynn owns 11.8% of the company’s shares. His ex-wife Elaine owns another 9.4%. She has been accused of stealing company information. Well beyond that, the former husband and wife have had a factious relationship. She agreed not to sell shares without the company’s permission. If Wynn leaves Wynn Resorts, that could change, which would put pressure on the shares if she decided to dispose of them. If Wynn tried to do the same, 20% of the shares would be in play.
Wynn Resorts shares dropped 10% on the news of Wynn’s harassment charges. If it leads to a sale by him or his wife, the share price could collapse much further.