Is Wynn a Good Deal for MGM Resorts?

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Now that founder and CEO Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) has sold all his stock in the company, MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) may be interested in acquiring Wynn. The New York Post cited sources who said the interest “has come in the form of back-channel approaches.”

MGM CEO James Murren said in February, well before Wynn dumped his stake, that it was not likely that MGM would be making a serious bid for Wynn’s namesake company. Wynn is not actively seeking a buyer, but the company’s new CEO would sell at the right price, a source told the Post.

Both Wynn and MGM Resorts have market caps of around $20 billion and MGM’s REIT, MGM Growth Properties LLC (NYSE: MGP), is valued at about $7.1 billion. MGM’s operating company and its REIT “can afford to buy” Wynn the Post’s source said.

Wynn has not made any changes to its board since its former CEO sold his shares, and that is being interpreted as a sign that acquisition talks may be taking place already, either with MGM or another interested party.

Both MGM Resorts and Wynn own and operate casino/resorts in Macau and both face the possibility that their licenses to operate on the Chinese island will not be renewed in 2022. That’s a much bigger deal for Wynn with two resorts in Macau and a majority of its revenues flowing from the Chinese island.

MGM has more exposure to Las Vegas, where revenues and profits are lower and, but for the threat to its (and Wynn’s) licenses in Macau, an acquisition of Wynn may be the shot in the arm MGM needs to compete with the industry’s 800-lb. gorilla, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS), which would still have a market cap of more than double the combined MGM-Wynn company.

While today may not be a good time to think about U.S. firms doing business in or with China, 2022 is still a ways off, and there won’t be many other opportunities for MGM to double in size between now and then. It’s a big risk for a potentially bigger reward. But in this case, playing with house money is not a plus.

MGM shares traded down slightly in Friday’s premarket and were last seen at $34.77, down 2.25% for the day. The stock’s 52-week range is $27.01 to $38.41, and the 12-month price target is $40.35.

Shares of Wynn traded up about 1.7% in the premarket this morning but were trading at $180.51, down 0.4% for the day. The stock’s 52-week range is $112.91 to $203.63, and the 12-month price target is $203.13.

The falling share prices are likely due to an overall negative trading session so far Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average is down about 1.4% and the S&P 500 is down just over 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite is down about 1%.