Wynn Resorts says SEC conducting inquiry

February 13, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. says that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal inquiry and asking that it preserve information related to a $135 million donation pledge the company made to the University of Macau.

The SEC's involvement relates to a dispute between Wynn Resorts and its biggest shareholder, Kazuo Okada, over the release of records of the donation. Okada is the former vice-chairman of Wynn's board of directors and the founder of casino game maker Universal Entertainment. He holds almost 20 percent of Wynn Resorts.

Okada has sued the company in a Nevada state court, saying it refused written requests for the records, despite Universal's investment of $380 million in Wynn Resorts since 2000.

Wynn Resorts told the SEC in a filing Monday that it made previously disclosed a $25 million payment to the University of Macau Development Foundation in May 2011 and it has committed to make 11 annual donations of $10 million from this year through 2022.

Wynn Resorts said both its board and the board of Wynn Macau assessed the donation. The lone dissenter was Okada. Wynn Resorts said he objected to the length of time over which the donation would take place but not its propriety.

Wynn Resorts said that it received a letter from the SEC's Salt Lake Regional Office on Feb. 8 asking that it preserve information about the donation as it relates to an informal SEC inquiry. The company was also asked to preserve information related to donations made to any other educational charitable institutions, including the University of Macau Development Foundation, and the company's casino or concession gaming licenses or renewals in Macau.

Wynn Resorts said it plans to fully cooperate with the SEC's request.

Shares of the company were down $2.24, or 2 percent, trading at $110.96 by mid-afternoon. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $101.02 to $172.58.