By Katherine Sayre
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. is considering a sale of its Las Vegas Strip operations, including two resorts and a huge convention hall, a company spokesman said.
The company is in early discussions and no final decision has been made, said the spokesman, Ron Reese.
The sale price for its Venetian and Palazzo casinos and Sands Expo and Convention Center could be more than $6 billion, according to a person familiar with the deliberations, and the company is working with an adviser to connect with a buyer. The possible sale was reported earlier by Bloomberg News.
The company generates most of its revenue in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau and in Singapore. Sands has a stock-market value of $38.7 billion.
The possible sale comes as the Las Vegas gambling industry struggles to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. The city's lucrative convention business has dried up under size limits on public gatherings and as trade groups delay in-person meetings or go virtual instead. Sands Expo on the Las Vegas Strip has more than 2.2 million square feet of convention space, and company leaders have said the return of group business is key to the recovery in Las Vegas.
Leisure travelers, meanwhile, are coming to Las Vegas in smaller numbers because of ongoing concerns about air travel and fewer entertainment options. Many of the tourists who are filling up weekend hotel rooms come from within driving distance of the city, particularly from California, according to industry leaders, while rooms remain empty midweek without convention business. In August, Las Vegas Strip hotel occupancy averaged 42%, versus nearly 90% the same month last year, according to the city's tourism bureau.
Sands generated 13% of its total net revenue in 2019 from Las Vegas, about $1.8 billion of about $13.7 billion total, according to financial filings. Meanwhile, its Macau operations generated $8.8 billion and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore generated $3.1 billion.
Last week, Sands reported that the company's net revenue was down 82% for the three months ended Sept. 30, to $586 million from $3.3 billion the year prior. Just in Las Vegas, net revenue was down 63% to $152 million, from $406 million last year.
Gambling in Macau has also been limited during the pandemic, with travel restrictions in China. Gross gambling revenues in Macau were down 90% in September compared with the previous year, according to a government report.
Write to Katherine Sayre at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires