What is the Red Rock Resorts IPO?

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Red Rock Resorts, Inc. is not planning to use IPO proceeds to grow through either asset purchase or new development. It is not planning to reduce its overall indebtedness with the IPO proceeds. Instead, concurrent with the IPO, it is paying out a large sum to insiders in an “internalization” deal that will not generate any new revenues. It is not even planning to buy out the ownership stake held by Deutsche Bank.

Highlights from the report:

  • RRR to pay insiders $460 million to buy zero new revenue. The $460-million price tag of the Fertitta Entertainment acquisition is 8.9 times the trailing-12-month management fee the firm receives from Station Casinos. The non-insider cost for acquiring Fertitta Entertainment should be closer to $52 million, not $460 million because its management agreement covering 13 of the 19 managed properties provides for a termination fee of 1x TTM management fee upon third-party sale of the properties. And existing Fertitta Entertainment executives and corporate employees will stay on and become directly employed by RRR. Moreover, Fertitta Entertainment, whose only existing business is to manage Station Casinos properties, will not generate any revenues after the acquisition, which effectively “internalizes” management. The planned $460-million payout follows payments of over $1.25 billion to the Fertittas and other company insiders over the past decade. If the Fertittas are confident in the future of Station Casinos, why aren’t they taking further equity in the company instead of cashing out?
  • RRR is letting insiders cash out substantial funds through the IPO instead of reducing debt, funding growth or simplifying risks. A Fidelity fund’s filing implies that it valued Station Casinos’ equity value at approximately $1.12 billion at the end of August. This means that the $460 million to be paid for Fertitta Entertainment would equal approximately 41% of RRR’s equity based on this value. Why are the Fertittas choosing to take the new IPO money out of the company rather than strengthen its financial condition or improve its growth prospects?
  • RRR is not planning to buy out Deutsche Bank as an owner, which poses licensing risks because Deutsche Bank has a criminal affiliate. Red Rock Resorts makes it clear that Deutsche Bank is not selling all of its 25% in the company. But RRR has not disclosed the bank’s recent and mounting regulatory problems: a bank subsidiary recently pled guilty to felony wire fraud, the bank itself paid a record $2.519 billion in fines to the U.S. Treasury and world financial regulators, and Deutsche is still under ongoing criminal investigations. These regulatory problems, which are not disclosed in the registration filings, could have implications for RRR shareholders because the company primarily operates in the highly regulated Nevada gaming industry.
  • RRR’s Class A shares will be second-class shares with negligible votes and unclear prospects for dividends. The company will remain controlled by the Fertittas after the IPO. While the family will sell a portion of their equity interest in the offering, they will enjoy 10:1 super voting rights for the foreseeable future, while new public shareholders’ prospects for dividends may be hamstrung by the company’s debt restrictions and tax-benefit obligations that limit Holdco’s ability to pay dividends to the new public company. Moreover, the cost of dual class shares was recently illustrated in hospitality when Marriott prevailed in a contest to acquire Starwood Hotels over a company whose shares had disparate voting rights.
  • How confident are RRR and its controlling shareholders in the company’s core Las Vegas locals business if they are selling valuable casino sites? The company has disclosed in its registration filings that it is selling potential casino sites in spite of the “legal limitations that restrict the development of additional off-Strip gaming properties.” Those sales listings, coupled with a substantial transfer of cash from the company to the Fertittas in this IPO beg the question: Do the Fertittas and the company they control have confidence in its core Las Vegas “locals” business, which provides over 90% of its net revenue?

See more of our analysis of the Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos IPO:

What is Red Rock Resorts, Inc.?

On Wednesday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board released the agenda for a special meeting to be held on January 21. A new company, Red Rock Resorts, Inc., will go before the board to seek approval for a public offering while becoming the sole manager and sole voting member of Station Casinos LLC. Yesterday, Red Rock Resorts, Inc. filed an S-1/A with the SEC.

Red Rock Resorts Inc. is the new name of Station Casinos Corp. and the vehicle for Station Casinos’ return to the public market. Station Casinos registered the domain nameredrockresortsinc.com”, but it does not currently direct to a live website. (The more obvious domain name for the company, “redrockresorts.com”, has been taken by someone else.)

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(Page image captured 1/15/2016)

In a related vein, Fertitta Entertainment LLC, which has managed Station Casinos properties since 2011, also seems lacking in terms of its online presence. Its website, at www.fertittaentertainment.com, which has been live since April, 2011, is still unfinished with dummy text on some pages. See herehere and here. Recall that Station Casinos LLC has agreed to buy the company for $460 million concurrent with the Station Casinos Corp. IPO. It is unclear from the related SEC filings so far whether the Fertitta Entertainment purchase will include the transfer of this website to Station Casinos.

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(Page image captured 1/15/2016)

See more of our analysis of the Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos IPO:

Public Comments by UNITE HERE Culinary Local 226 at Nevada Gaming Commission Meeting on December 17, 2015

In October of this year, Station Casinos filed registration documents with the SEC to take the company public. These filings make it clear that Deutsche Bank will hold both voting and economic rights in Station Casinos following the offering. You will soon have to review and decide whether to approve the company’s application for a public offering.

We have previously communicated our concern that it is dangerous to allow a parent company of a felon to go unlicensed while profiting from Nevada casinos and have asked the Board and Commission to call Deutsche Bank forward for a suitability review. Now that Deutsche Bank is set to own voting rights, we believe this only furthers the need for a suitability review.

In May 2011, the Gaming Commission approved the restructuring of Station Casinos without requiring Deutsche Bank to go through licensing despite its 25% ownership. At the time, Robert Cashell, Jr. was appointed by Deutsche Bank to hold its voting interests in Station Casinos. The Board and Commission made it clear that Deutsche Bank could not interfere with the management or voting rights of its at-will designee, Mr. Cashell.

Station Casinos’ IPO filings appear to demonstrate possible direction from Deutsche Bank. The board of Station Casinos Corp., including Mr. Cashell, has agreed to set limitations on executive compensation based on Deutsche Bank ownership. Specifically, management salaries cannot exceed 105% in the second post-IPO year as long as Deutsche Bank owns at least 5% of Class A shares.

Now that Deutsche Bank is set to own voting rights in Station Casinos through its subsidiary and given the question as to whether the bank may have exercised control over its at-will designee and whether Mr. Cashell may have not acted independently, we believe this only underscores the need to call the bank forward for a suitability review. We believe this should be done even before you formally consider Station Casinos’ application for a public offering.

(For more details, see our Dec.23 letter to Nevada Gaming Commission on Deutsche Bank’s Ownership of voting rights and interference in the proposed Station Casinos IPO.)


See more of our analysis of the Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos IPO:

Our Response to SEC Request for Comment on the Effectiveness of Financial Disclosures about Entities Other than the Registrant

Read our full letter to the SEC here.

On Nov. 30, we sent a letter to the SEC in response to the commission’s request for comment on “Effectiveness of Financial Disclosures About Entities Other Than the Registrant”. We ask the Commission to consider three specific amendments to Rule 3-05. We have arrived at our suggestions after reviewing recent filings by Station Casinos LLC and Station Casinos Corp.

An excerpt from our letter:

We think investors would find it difficult to evaluate the proposed $460-million purchase price of Fertitta Entertainment LLC as neither registrant has provided historical financials of the target. The purchase agreement filed in an 8-K by Station Casinos LLC on Oct. 13 does not include any exhibits showing historical financials of Fertitta Entertainment. And these are not disclosed in Station Casinos Corp.’s IPO filings, including an S-1 filed on Oct. 13 and an S-1/A filed on Nov. 24, either.

Investors are thus left in a quandary: they cannot know whether the Fertitta Entertainment acquisition is “significant” because they do not have the necessary information to check the significance of the purchase using the tests provided for under Rule 3-05. They therefore cannot assess and evaluate whether the purchase of an affiliate under common control is a good one for Station Casinos LLC and its proposed new parent Station Casinos Corp.

See more of our analysis of the Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos IPO:

How much is Station Casinos worth?

Last week, news broke that Fidelity, the mutual fund giant, had lowered its valuation of Snapchat Inc., the video messaging app company, by 25%. (See, for example, here, here, and here.)

The story got us thinking about how much Fidelity values Station Casinos LLC, of which it owns 8.7%. Fidelity’s valuation would provide a useful baseline for prospective investors in the Station Casinos IPO.

Here is what we found: a Fidelity fund’s filing implies that it valued Station Casinos’ equity at approximately $1.12 billion at the end of August.

  • Station Casinos LLC’s last 10-K, filed on 3/10/15, shows that Fidelity affiliates owned a total of 26,613,550 of Station Holdco LLC units, which constituted 8.7% of ownership interest in the company. This means there were approximately 305,902,874 Holdco LLC units overall.
  • The N-CSR filing by Fidelity Puritan Trust, filed on 10/28/15, shows that the Fidelity Puritan Fund valued 1,194,419 Station Holdco LLC units at $4.384 million on 8/31/15. This implies a valuation of $3.67 per Station Holdco LLC unit.
  • Total value of Station Holdco LLC units is therefore: $3.67 * 305,902,874 = $1,122,787,062.

Station Holdco LLC holds 100% of the economic equity interest in Station Casinos LLC. Therefore, Fidelity’s filing implies that it valued Station Casinos’ equity at approximately $1.12 billion at the end of August.

This also means that Deutsche Bank’s indirectly-owned 25% stake in Station Casinos is worth about $280.7 million.

Will Station Casinos be able to raise enough money through the IPO to buy out Deutsche Bank, whose regulatory troubles could have implications for new investors in the highly regulated gaming business, and pay $460 million to insiders to buy the company’s exclusive management company? (We will take a closer look at the value of the management firm, Fertitta Entertainment LLC, in a coming report.)


See more of our analysis of the Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos IPO: