Stock exchange

Encore Boston Harbor casino as seen from Linden Street (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Wynn Resort execs cash out million$

By JOSH RESNEK

It is rarely a good sign of things to come when the top executives of a major company are selling off multi-million dollars’ worth of their stock.

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox sold 59,000 shares within the last two weeks.

He received approximately $6.3 million when the transaction settled.

Vice-President Elaine Whittemore has sold hundreds thousands of dollars of her stock recently, as well in a number of transactions recorded with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In both cases, the executives sold stock they were given by the company in lieu of salary because of the consequences the epidemic has caused for the worldwide gaming giant founded by Steve Wynn.

Maddox still owns 394,549 shares of Wynn stock.

He was paid a total of $18 million in cash and equities by Wynn Resorts in 2018.

In fact, the sale of the Maddox shares is not believed to be a lack of confidence in the company, but rather, his effort to compensate himself for salary he did not receive during the year.

The shares were given to both of these executives at approximately $70 a share valuation at the time.

Basically, this was like executives slashing their salaries because of the business downturn and being given stock as a hedge.

Turns out, this was a good bet for Maddox and Whittemore and a number of other Wynn executives and Board members.

In March, Wynn executives and Board members gave up their salaries and received stock instead.

In March, Wynn Resorts doled out $14.5 million in stock to retain its chief executives and other high-level employees.

Wynn Resorts stock price in August 2020 stood at about $70 a share.

At the stock exchange opening this week, the price stood at $107.

Stock analysts who study Wynn Resorts have pointed out that executives selling stock is not as a good sign of the company’s future as executives buying the company stock. There have been no insider purchases of Wynn Resorts during the past year, according to data on hand with stock analysts.

17 Wall Street analysts have issued ratings and price targets for Wynn Resorts in the last 12 months. Their average twelve-month price target is $100.46, predicting that the stock has a possible downside of 6.11%. The high price target for WYNN is $181.00 and the low price target for WYNN is $75.00. There are currently 2 sell ratings, 8 hold ratings and 7 buy ratings for the stock, resulting in a consensus rating of “Hold,” according to MarketBeat.

Analyst consensus defies current earnings reports which reveal Wynn Resorts at one of the lowest points in its modern history due to the reduced hours and closures of their hotels and casinos in Macau, Las Vegas, and Everett.

Smith Barney just downgraded Wynn Resorts.

Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and Credit Suisse have all boosted their target prices.

Casino stocks like Wynn have an almost unmatched ability to generate huge amounts of cash during normal business periods.

The COVID-19 has punched Wynn in the stomach.

Industry insiders expect that at some point, the business will come back, and analysts believe it will flourish.

When exactly this will happen is anyone’s guess.

In a related casino news flash of importance, Sheldon Adelson has died.

The 87-year-old casino magnate, one of the richest men in the world, was a friend to a succession of American presidents, and a staunch Republican supporter of President Trump as well as a loyal supporter of Israel.

During the past two years, Adelson or his designees had apparently expressed interest in buying the Encore project from Wynn Resorts.

Wynn executives denied any such approach had been made by Adelson.

Adelson was born in Dorchester. He grew up in very humble circumstances.

He didn’t make his first $1 billion until he was over 70. He leaves a fortune estimated at $33 billion.

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