The future of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) remains very much in Asia, with ongoing expansion in its key markets of Macau and Singapore likely to remain the company’s focus even after the passing this week of founder, Chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson.
The assessment was offered in a Wednesday note by brokerage Sanford C Bernstein, which observed that LVS has long had a succession plan in place and should therefore expect little material change from its new leadership team – headed by Rob Goldstein and Patrick Dumont. Goldstein was last week elevated to Acting CEO and Chairman of LVS and Sands China after it was revealed that Adelson was taking a medical leave of absence, while Dumont is CFO of LVS as well as being Adelson’s son-in-law.
Mr Adelson, 87, passed away Monday night (Las Vegas time) from complications related to his treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Despite his passing, Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Tianjiao Yu said Wednesday, “LVS’s future still lies largely with Asia. The vision of Macau and Singapore that Mr. Adelson had in the 2000s has come to fruition. Given opportunity to invest further in Macau, Sands will be at the forefront of that opportunity.”
The analysts noted that LVS retains a strong leadership team across its Asian businesses, overseen in Macau by Sands China President Wilfred Wong and COO Grant Chum, and in Singapore by Corporate SVP and Chief Casino Officer Andrew MacDonald and SVP of Resort Operations Paul Town. George Tanasijevich remain a key driver of the company’s international efforts as Managing Director of Global Development.
“While Mr. Adelson’s history with the company starts at the very beginning of Las Vegas Sands, the company has evolved into a well-run global organization with strong management that is perfectly cable of continuing the vision and strategy laid out for the company,” Bernstein said.
Long-term, it is expected that Dumont will be groomed to eventually succeed Goldstein as the company’s top dog – remaining the “key management and board figure representing the interests of the [Adelson] family,” currently at 56.6% of LVS. Adelson’s wife of 30 years, Dr Miriam Adelson, is unlikely to assume any day-to-day-role.
There is, however, one potential area of investment that could see some long-awaited movement with rumors this week that LVS may expand into the US sports betting and iGaming space. Adelson has long been a vocal opponent of online gaming in all its forms, Bernstein said it does “not see Goldstein and Dumont as having a similar strong view.
“We believe LVS is evaluating the market opportunity and whether its involvement makes economic sense (again with a focus on return on investment). It is possible LVS dips their toe in to the market.”