Las Vegas Sands Corp. is leaving Las Vegas and aiming for Asia.
The company that had been run by Sheldon Adelson until death in January has agreed to sell the Venetian casino and resort and two other Vegas properties for $6.25 billion.
The buyer is Apollo Global Management, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Apollo partner Alex van Hoek said the move “underscores our conviction in a strong recovery for Las Vegas,” and the global hospitality and gambling business as a whole, according to the report. The hospitality industry has been decimated by the pandemic, although strong gains last month put share prices of publicly traded hotel companies back up to pre-Covid levels.
In addition to the opulent Venetian, the other two properties sold were the luxury casino and resort Palazzo, and the Sands Expo Convention Center.
Sands Corp. plans to keep its headquarters in Vegas, and executives have said the company has considered expansions in New York and Texas.
But it is pivoting its business to Asia, planning to invest more heavily in its Singapore and Macau properties. Those two places accounted for 85 percent of its revenue as of 2019, the report showed.
Sands Corp. paused dividends last year amid the pandemic; the sale to Apollo might lead the company to pay some of the proceeds to shareholders, a Jefferies analyst told the Journal.
The Vegas tourism industry, meanwhile, is heavily dependent on foot traffic and many casino and hotel operators are feeling the financial pressure of Covid. Some operators came up with incentive packages to draw foot traffic to their properties but gambling revenue dropped 31 percent from 2019 to 2020, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch