Wynn shares slide as lawsuit stokes Macau concern

Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:21pm GMT

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LOS ANGELES Jan 12 (Reuters) - A legal dispute between the founder of Wynn Resorts Inc (WYNN.O) and his longtime partner raised questions about the state of the U.S. casino company's fast-growth Macau business, sending its shares down more than 5 percent on Thursday.

Wynn Vice Chairman and major shareholder Kazuo Okada sued the company in Nevada, accusing it of blocking his attempts to review its business accounts despite repeated requests.

In the lawsuit, Okada said he had voiced objections to an "inappropriate" $135 million donation to the University of Macau by the company. But he was rebuffed when he asked to review the books and accounts related to that transaction.

A spokesperson for Wynn, headed by charismatic Vegas mogul Steve Wynn, was not available for comment.

"The lawsuit will weigh on shares, especially near term. We believe Wynn has carried a premium-equity multiple relative to its growth outlook partially because investors view Wynn a high-quality, safe way to play Macau growth and a Las Vegas recovery," Sterne Agee analyst David Bain said in a clients' note.

"While that investment thesis should remain intact, the noise or read-through surrounding Okada's lawsuit may tarnish investor conviction in the same thesis -- at least short term," Bain said.

Wynn's stock was down 5.3 percent at $106 in morning trading.

(Reporting By Deena Beasley and Edwin Chan, editing by Mark Porter)

((eddie.chan@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 213 955 6750)(Reuters Messaging: eddie.chan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: WYNN/

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