Posts

An Update on Private Jets (and Yachts!)

The Fertitta Fleet

fertitta-fleet

Readers may recall that Fertitta Entertainment LLC, the Fertitta-owned company that had no business other than managing Fertitta-owned-Station Casinos’ properties under contract, was purchased by Fertitta-controlled Red Rock Resorts last year using IPO proceeds plus additional debt. One of the interesting features of the transaction was that the private jet of Fertitta Entertainment was not included in the deal. The $30-million airplane was instead “transferred” to Fertitta Business Management LLC, making the Fertittas collectively owners of four private jets.

No More Private Jets for Red Rock: Of the four planes owned by Fertitta entities, a Boeing Business Jet and a Gulfstream G-IV have been on the market since at least February 9, 2017.  The remaining jets not for sale are the 2011 Bombardier Global Express from Fertitta Entertainment and a 2008 Bombardier Global Express.

Even with their own private jets, sometimes the Fertittas would make use of the company jet for their own personal travel. In 2016, Red Rock’s CEO made $41,495 worth of personal use of the Fertitta Entertainment jet, up to the point of the consummation of the IPO, when the plane’s ownership transferred. In 2015 and 2014, the CEO compensation included $246,486 and $187,146 for “personal use of aircraft leased by Fertitta Entertainment,” respectively.[1] Before Station Casinos, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, executives also made “personal use” of the company’s airplane. In 2006, for example, compensation for three executives included $147,765 of personal use of company aircraft.[2]

That’s a lot of personal travel on these executives’ part. But presumably the company (Red Rock and its pre-Chapter 11 predecessor Station Casinos Inc.) had a company jet for business purposes. Now that Red Rock Resorts is private jet-free, do its executives simply fly commercial as they try to look for growth opportunities outside Las Vegas, even around the world (e.g., Brazil)? Are they looking for growth opportunities?

The Fertittas’ private fleet made 153 flights into airports in southern California in the twelve months following RRR’s IPO. In the same period, international destinations included locations in southern Europe and the Caribbean (but no flights to Brazil).

From Private Jets to Mega-Yachts: While preparing to take their company public, the Fertittas financed the construction of two mega-yachts. Financing for a 285-foot yacht was secured on November 2, 2015, and for a 308-foot yacht on March 24, 2016. Photos of just one of the yachts have surfaced online.

Should billionaire owners of such super yachts continue to be subsidized by Red Rock Resorts outside shareholders, who have been paying the Fertittas’ income tax with cash “tax distributions”?

In 2016, cash distributions to owners of Station Casino LLC totaled $142.8 million, including $43.6 million of “tax distributions.” In 2015, cash distributions to owner of Station Casinos LLC totaled $162.3 million [3], but the amount of tax distributions was not disclosed.


* Based on capacity of yachts of similar length

[1] See Red Rock Resorts Inc., SEC Form 424B1, filed 4/28/16, p. 138; and Station Casinos LLC, SEC Form 10-K, filed 3/10/15, p. 112.
[2] Station Casinos Inc., SEC Form 10-K/A. filed 4/27/07, p. 16.
[3] Station Casinos LLC, SEC Form 10-K, filed 2/29/16, p. 81

Outside Shareholders Dissent at Red Rock Resorts’ Annual Meeting

Outside shareholders of Red Rock Resorts demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the company’s directors at its July 6th meeting of stockholders, with the most opposition shown toward the independent directors.

Assuming all insiders voted their Class A and Class B shares in favor of management’s recommendation, then the total outside Class A shareholder vote “for” the directors was between 59% and 71%.[i] That means between 29% and 41% of outside shareholders did not vote “for” the company’s directors

Outside Class A Shareholder Support for Red Rock’s Directors

Director Outside Class A “For” Outside Class A “For” %
Frank J. Fertitta III 47,606,865 71%
Lorenzo Fertitta 46,912,406 70%
James E. Nave 40,389,581 60%
Robert E. Lewis 40,425,855 60%
Robert A. Cashell, Jr. 39,415,189 59%


Ernst & Young reports
that only 3.8% of Russell 3000 directors received less than 80% support from all shareholders (combined inside and outside) in 2017 (YTD, 5/31/2017). Therefore, a significant number of Red Rock’s outside shareholders expressed discontent with the entire board.

Alternatively, we can look directly at the “withhold” vote. Commenting on a 2012 study commissioned by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute, GMI’s Ratings director of research Kimberly Gladman said: “The average level of withheld votes in a director’s election is 5 percent; companies should be concerned when the level in an election exceeds 10 percent.”

To measure shareholder dissatisfaction this way at the recent Red Rock meeting, we reduce the super voting shares held by insiders to a one share, one vote standard. This adjusted votes figure more accurately reflects the desires of all equity holders, not just the Fertitta insiders. If all shareholders of Red Rock had equal voting rights and assuming no Class B shareholders withheld their votes, then the vote results show between 9% and 16% of shareholders withheld from the company’s directors.

Adjusted Votes Withheld from Red Rock’s Directors

Director Adjusted Votes Withheld Adjusted Votes Withheld %
Frank J. Fertitta III 10,593,246 9%
Lorenzo Fertitta 11,287,705 10%
James E. Nave 17,810,530 15%
Robert E. Lewis 17,774,256 15%
Robert A. Cashell, Jr. 18,784,922 16%

Red Rock’s closing share price on July 5th (the day before the annual meeting) was down 3.1% year-to-date compared with NASDAQ Composite Index’s gain of 13.3%. As of May 8th, Class A shareholders held 58.4% of the equity but only controlled 12.9% of the vote.[ii]

Read the letter and report we sent to Red Rock’s public investors, criticizing the company’s independent directors for anti-shareholder corporate governance measures and related-party transactions and encouraging investors to withhold votes from its independent directors.

ISS recommended withholding on all of the company’s directors, which we fully supported.

See table below for how we calculated inside, outside, and adjusted votes.

Inside and Outside Votes

Share Class Number of Shares Votes
Class A Shares Outstanding 67,778,152 67,778,152
Insider Class A Shares 516,326 516,326
Outside Class A Shares 67,261,826 67,261,826
Class B Shares Outstanding 48,327,396 456,799,632
Insider Class B Shares (1 vote per share) 2,941,592 2,941,592
Insider Class B Shares (10 votes per share) 45,385,804 453,858,040
Class A + B Outstanding 116,105,548 524,577,784
*Number of adjusted votes equals the number of Class A + B outstanding

[i] At the July 6th annual meeting, Richard Haskins, President of Red Rock Resorts, said as of record date (May 8, 2017) there were 67,778,152 Class A shares outstanding, 48,327,396 Class B shares outstanding, and 45,385,804 Class B shares with 10 votes per share. These figures were used to calculate the number of Class B shares with one vote per share, the voting power and equity of each class, and to estimate the number of insider and outsider “for” votes. The number of insider Class A shares comes from Red Rock’s DEFR14A, filed on May 26, 2017, p. 47.

[ii] See note i

Deutsche Bank Sells 19.6 Million Class A Shares After IPO Lock-Up Period Expired

Update 2: Deutsche Bank sells off its ownership stake, per Red Rock Resorts 8-K filing on Nov. 10, 2016.

Update 1: See “Deutsche Bank to sell $400m stake in Las Vegas gambling group” in Financial Times (Oct. 30, 2016).


Deutsche Bank will soon be able to dispose of its 17% ownership of Red Rock Resorts (NASDAQ: RRR), when the Las Vegas gaming company’s IPO lock-up period expires on October 24.

Deutsche Bank is in dire need of additional capital, so we expect it to sell off the Las Vegas casino stake as soon as it can on or after October 24. Deutsche Bank investors should certainly welcome the cash infusion and capital boost that can come from selling and exiting the casino assets.

Deutsche Bank is in the process of selling other non-core assets such as Abbey Life and its stake in China’s Hua Xia Bank. CEO John Cryan noted in July that the lender’s second-quarter revenues “benefited from the IPO of Red Rock Resorts.”

We estimate the German bank’s Las Vegas casino stake to be worth approximately $440 million. (The bank has not disclosed the specific number of Red Rock shares it beneficially owns.) In addition, according to the tax receivable agreement Red Rock signed as part of its IPO, the company is required to pay Deutsche Bank and other pre-IPO owners 85% of certain tax benefits to be realize when Deutsche Bank and other pre-IPO owners sell their ownership interests. The TRA payments will need to be made in cash before the company makes its dividend payments. As of June 30, the company’s TRA liability was $44.5 million.

As Deutsche Bank gaming analysts observed on May 22: [I]t is worth noting that at present, ~21% of the shares outstanding are held by legacy strategic investors, whose core business does not include owning gaming equities. Thus, post the 180 day, from IPO, lock up expiration, we believe the risk of secondary issuances could potentially weigh on shares.”

Fidelity Would Have Valued Station Casinos at $9.19 at the End of January

If Fidelity bond funds valued Station Casinos at an estimated $9.19 per share at the end of January, what will Fidelity equity funds value the company at if they decide to participate in the upcoming Red Rock Resorts IPO?

As a result of Station Casinos’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2011, Fidelity owns approximately 8.7% economic interest in the gaming company in the form of Station Holdco LLC units held by several of its bond funds. These funds disclose the value of their Station Holdco holdings regularly.

Most recently, 22,418,968 Hold LLC units in the Fidelity Capital and Income Fund (FAGIX) were given a value of $78.018 million as of 1/31/16 in a 3/30/16 N-Q filing.

Using the same methodology as before, we estimate that this implies a valuation of Station Casinos’ equity at approximately $1.06 billion, which would translate to about $9.19 per share based on the fully-diluted number of shares outstanding of Red Rock. That is, Fidelity would have valued Red Rock at $9.19 at the end of January.

What valuation will Fidelity give Red Rock if the mutual fund giant decides to participate in the IPO, which has an offering price range of $18 to $21 per share? Will Fidelity ask itself, internally, how Station Casinos could have doubled in value in less than three months?

Deutsche Bank Would Have Valued Red Rock at $5.39 Per Share a Year Ago

Prospective investors in Red Rock Resorts should ask Deutsche Bank how, in its opinion, the value of Station Casinos could have more than tripled in little over a year.

According to a 2/17/15 analyst report by Deutsche Bank gaming high-yield analyst Andrew Zarnett, Station Casinos LLC, as of 12/31/2014, was estimated to have an enterprise value to be $2.59 billion, which would have implied an equity valuation of $624.6 million after subtracting net debt of $1.97 billion. That equity valuation would have translated to about $5.39 per share with the fully-diluted number of shares outstanding of 115.9 million found in Red Rock’s 4/15/16 S-1/A filing

Red Rock’s 4/15/16 S-1/A filing shows an IPO price range of $18.0 to $21.0 per share. Using the mid-point of $19.5 per share and the fully diluted shares outstanding figure of 115.85 million, the company and its underwriters, one of whom is Deutsche Bank, are offering an equity valuation of $2.26 billion and, adding net debt of $2.04 billion, an enterprise value of $4.30 billion for Station Casinos LLC.

Station Casinos Valuation Jump

12/31/14 4/15/16
Enterprise value $2,590 million $4,298 million
Net debt $1,965 million $2,039 million
Equity $625 million $2,259 million
Implied per share price on 115.85 million shares outstanding $5.29 $19.5

From 12/31/14 to 4/15/16, the share prices of four publicly-traded regional gaming operators (BYD, PENN, PNK, ISLE) rose by an average of 61%.

Investors should ask Deutsche Bank how, in its opinion, the value of Station Casinos could have more than tripled in little over a year.

(See also our earlier piece on the estimated valuation Station Casinos equity as implied by SEC filings by Fidelity, a current minority owner.)


Dividends on Your Second-Class Red Rock Shares? Don’t Count on It

Red Rock Resorts says they “intend to pay quarterly cash dividends” to Class A shareholders “initially equal to $0.10 per share” starting in 3Q16. For an investor buying second-class shares in a company facing stagnant growth and market contraction, dividends are perhaps the only upside. But how likely is it that Red Rock will pay dividends at the promised level? Will it have enough free cash flow to pay dividends? We take a closer look.

Red Rock has a number of obligations that must be met before it can pay dividends to Class A shareholders. The first obligation stems from the indebtedness of Red Rock’s affiliate, Station Casinos LLC. According to Red Rock’s S-1/A filing on April 15, 2016:

The existing debt agreements of Station LLC limit the ability of Station LLC to make distributions to Station Holdco, which effectively restricts the ability of Station Holdco to distribute sufficient funds to permit Red Rock to pay dividends to its stockholders.

On a consolidated basis, Red Rock had total long-term debt of $2.16 billion as of December 31, 2015. The company estimates that in 2016, following the public offering, it will be required to pay $209 million in principal and interest payments on this indebtedness.

The company will also have to spend a significant amount of cash flow on maintenance capital expenditures every year. For 2016, Station Casinos expects to spend “approximately $100 million to $125 million” on capex. From 2013 to 2015, capital expenditures consisted “primarily of various renovation projects at our properties, information technology equipment purchases and slot machine purchases.”

After debt obligations and maintenance capex, Station Casinos or its direct parent Station Holdco can make distributions to its members. We remind you again that Red Rock will have only one-third economic interest in Station Casinos, so any distributions upstream made will primarily go to pre-IPO owners who stay on after the IPO. And these LLC distributions will include payments to cover LLC members’ income taxes.

In addition, after Red Rock receives its one-third distributions from Station Casinos, it is required to make payments under the tax receivable agreement (TRA) to pre-IPO owners equal to 85% of its tax benefits. The company estimates it will owe a maximum aggregate payment of $28.1 to $59.0 million under the TRA, although we have seen how TRA liabilities can dramatically increase after an IPO.

For some historical perspective, let’s take a look at Station Casinos’ dividends the last time it was a public company. The following table compares Station Casinos’ historic dividends with Red Rock’s proposed dividends.

Station Casinos, Inc. Dividends vs. Red Rock Resorts Proposed Dividends

Year Annual Dividends Prior Year EBITDA

(millions)

Total Dividend Payments (millions) Total Dividend Payments/Prior Year EBITDA
2004 $0.69 295.2 $44.3 15.0%
2005 $0.92 385.4 $62.6 16.2%
2006 $1.08 480.9 $65.4 13.6%
Red Rock (proposed) $0.40 $451.4 (2015) $15.4 3.4%

*Station Casinos paid no dividends from 1993-2002 and only two quarterly dividends in 2003.

Red Rock’s proposed 10 cent quarterly dividend at the midpoint of its pricing range ($19.50) equates to around a 2% dividend yield. For those looking for a dividend play, there are plenty of companies with higher dividend yields. Furthermore, Red Rock’s dividend as a percentage of EBITDA is significantly lower than what Station Casinos used to pay out before. Red Rock’s proposed dividend is only 3.4% of 2015 EBITDA, whereas Station Casinos paid an average 15.0% of prior-year EBITDA in dividends from 2004 to 2006.

With questionable prospects for growth and poor corporate governance, investors in the Red Rock IPO might want to look to dividends for a reason to invest in Red Rock. But, as a result of its other obligations, there is no certainty the company will be able to pay dividends at a level that satisfies public shareholders.


Red Rock Resorts is a Second-Class Gaming IPO

Download our unauthorized roadshow presentation and presentation notes here.

Investors who buy Red Rock’s second-class shares on offer will gain a minority (33%) stake in the once-bankrupt Las Vegas casino and tavern operator, Station Casinos. The terms of the offering beg questions about company insiders’ confidence in its long-term prospects.

Prospective investors should ask management the following questions:

Should new shareholders expect significant dilution soon after the IPO thanks to Deutsche Bank’s expected exit? After the IPO, Deutsche Bank owns 16.2-18% of the company after selling very few shares in the current offering. The German lender, which is also an underwriter of this IPO, has been selling off its non-core assets at a loss, including a Las Vegas Strip resort and a New Jersey port operator as it continues to deal with its capital and regulatory challenges. Will it sell off its large Station Casinos/Red Rock stake immediately after the 180-day lock-up period, which may even be waived by Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan as underwriters?

Why is Red Rock paying $460 million in cash to insiders to internalize management with the Fertitta Entertainment acquisition? Red Rock’s prospectus does not present any specific potential benefits of this proposed transaction, yet the price represents (1) 20% of the $2.3-billion IPO valuation of Station Casinos’ equity at the mid-point of its offering price range; (2) 8.7x TTM management fees instead of the 1x TTM management fees for a potential termination of the Fertitta Entertainment management agreements covering at least 13 of 19 casinos; and (3) 31x our estimate of Fertitta Entertainment’s 2015 pro forma EBITDA of about $14.8 million. Even though it did not complete a $300-million dividend recapitalization last spring, Station Casinos has paid out over $477 million to its existing owners from 2013 through April 2016, before consummating this pricy acquisition.

How confident is management in Red Rock’s growth prospects? The Las Vegas locals market, which made up over 90% of Red Rock’s total EBITDA in 2015, has been contracting in terms of total amount wagered and number of slot units, and gaming revenue at the company’s Las Vegas operations grew at an annual compounded rate of only 1.4% from 2012 to 2015. The company has even listed hard-to-come-by potential casino sites in Nevada for sale. As for its tribal business, the company has not signed any new tribal gaming development or management agreements since 2004. Its two current contracts are due to expire in 2018 and 2020, with only one more project in development.

If the Fertitta family is cashing out, why should investors buy Red Rock’s second-class shares with uncertain prospects for dividends? The Fertitta family’s Class B Red Rock shares with 10:1 voting power make the Class A Red Rock shares second-class shares in more ways than one. Furthermore, a lopsided tax receivable agreement without a hard cap on future payments to pre-IPO owners will lead to uncertainty about Red Rock’s future free cash flow and its ability to pay dividends to Red Rock’s second-class shareholders.

It is alarming that potential investors in Red Rock’s second-class IPO are being asked to buy out an insider management company at a high, $460-million valuation, instead of paying down company debt or funding new growth initiatives. Data on the ground in Las Vegas show tepid growth in Red Rock’s core business, underscoring the contrast between an IPO that strengthens a gaming company’s finances and one that drains funds to buy a related-party management company, like Red Rock.


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

 

 

More Questions about the $460-Million Valuation of Fertitta Entertainment

A key feature of the Red Rock IPO is the use of proceeds, plus additional debt, to acquire Fertitta Entertainment for $460 million in a related-party transaction. Investors should ask the company how it arrived at and agreed to this price.

First of all, here is some perspective on the price tag of this insider deal. $460 million equals:

  • 93% of the estimated IPO net proceeds of $495.9 million (assuming the mid-point of the offering price range and that the underwriters do not exercise their options to purchase additional shares)
  • 20% of the IPO valuation of Station Casinos’ equity of $2.26 billion (with the same assumptions as above)
  • 8.7 times Fertitta Entertainment’s 2015 management fee revenue from Station Casinos
  • 31 times Fertitta Entertainment’s 2015 pro forma EBITDA of $14.8 million (which we calculated by comparing the financials of the consolidated Station Holdco LLC and Station Casinos)

In addition, we believe prospective investors should ask Red Rock management the following questions:

  • Is Red Rock projecting $34 million of incremental annual EBITDA and therefore only $18 million in annual corporate expenses on a going-forward basis after buying Fertitta Entertainment and internalizing management?
  • If yes, does that projection include potential equity-based compensation expenses?
  • And what is the plan to keep corporate expenses at $18 million a year for 13.5 years?

Even though the company’s IPO prospectus filings do not describe any specific financial benefits of the Fertitta Entertainment acquisition, Red Rock management explained the valuation basis of the Fertitta Entertainment deal what they presented to Nevada gaming regulators on January 21. During the special meeting of the Nevada Gaming Control Board meeting to approve the IPO, CFO Marc Falcone said:

With the transaction and the acquisition of Fertitta Entertainment, we actually improve, EBITDA will go up by $34 million, approximately. So we are basically taking the management fees that were historically paid to Fertitta Entertainment, those now will remain within Red Rock Resorts, Inc., and Station Casinos LLC. We are also adding back some expenses that related to salaries and wages for the employees that are currently employed at the Fertitta Entertainment level that will now be employed at the Station Casinos LLC level [emphasis added].*

That is, the company believes that internalizing Fertitta Entertainment would lead to incremental annual EBITDA of $34 million because that’s the amount it would “save” by (1) not paying out management fees ($52 million in 2015) anymore but (2) paying corporate expenses covering its executives and corporate employees directly, who are currently employed and paid by Fertitta Entertainment. If $34 million incremental EBITDA is the basis for the $460 million price, a 13.5x multiple was used. It thus appears the company has agreed to transfer 13.5 years of potential EBITDA “savings” as an immediate lump-sum cash payment to the owners of Fertitta Entertainment as part of the IPO.

Mr. Falcone’s statement implies that the company is expecting to pay only $18 million a year in corporate expenses going forward ($52 million minus $34 million). Is $18 million in corporate expenses a realistic number for a company the size of Red Rock/Station Casinos?

Let’s consider what Station Casinos used to do when it was a publicly-traded company. In the last three full years when it was a publicly-traded company before the disastrous insider-led leveraged buyout of 2007, the company paid on average about 4.9% of its net revenues out as corporate expenses.

($ millions) 2004 2005 2006
Net revenues $986.7 $1,108.8 $1,339.0
Corporate expenses $47.2 $57.6 $63.1
Corporate expenses as % of net revenues 4.8% 5.2% 4.7%

In 2015, Station Casinos had net revenues of $1.35 billion. If it had paid its own corporate expenses at a level like it used to during the three-period listed above, it would have spent $61 million in corporate expenses. We believe it would be unrealistic to expect to pay only $18 million in corporate expenses after Red Rock internalizes Fertitta Entertainment.

Another concern investors should be aware of is how the company accounts for equity-based compensation. According to section 3.08 of the disclosure schedule of the execution copy of the Fertitta Entertainment purchase agreement (filed as Exhibit 10.10 in Red Rock’s 2/12/16 S-1/A):

With respect to [Fertitta Entertainment LLC’s] consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and for the six months ended June 30, 2015, the Company did not record share-based compensation expense associated with equity incentives issued to current and former executives of the Company from FI Station Investor LLC.  FI Station Investor LLC is an entity that is owned by the parent entities of the Company.  Pursuant to GAAP, this non-cash share-based compensation is required to be recorded as a component of the Company’s statement of operations since these executives were employees of the Company and FI Station Investor LLC is a common-controlled entity of the Company’s equity holders.  The Company’s auditor, Ernst & Young LLP, has determined that each of the foregoing financial statements would require to be restated and has withdrawn its opinions for each audit period that are dated March 25, 2015, May 14, 2014, April 16, 2013 and May 15, 2012, respectively.

This disclosure should lead investors to ask whether Station Casinos has an accurate handle on historical, current and projected costs of equity-based compensation, which could be an expensive component of cost for any company. (We have sent a letter to the SEC asking some other questions based on this disclosure, too.)

* The transcript of the Jan. 21, 2016, special meeting of the Nevada Gaming Control Board can be ordered by calling Sunshine Litigation Services at 775-323-3411. The quote is from pp. 32-33.


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

Why is Station Casinos Selling Valuable Casino Sites?

See also: More growth questions about the Las Vegas locals gaming market.


In Red Rock Resorts’ most recent S-1/A, the company says it “control[s] approximately 398 acres of developable land comprised of seven strategically-located parcels in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, each of which is zoned for casino gaming and other commercial uses” (3/15/16 S-1/A, p. 116). The filing then lists seven such parcels: Durango/I-115 (70 acres), Wild Wild West/Viva (96 acres), Flamingo/I-215 (58 acres), Via Inspirada/Bicentennial Parkway (45 acres), Boulder Highway (30 acres), Mt. Rose Property (Reno) (88 acres), and South Virginia St/I-580 (Reno) (8 acres).

Two of these sites caught our eye, because they are actually on the market. There is no guarantee that IPO investors will be able to participate in any potential growth tied to these parcels, if they are soon sold off.

The large Mt. Rose site in Reno has been on the market since at least November 3 last year, less than a month after the company made its initial IPO filing on Oct 13.

A 25.5-acre portion of the company’s 30-acre Boulder Highway site in Las Vegas has also been on the market for a while. The parcel for sale is not itself entitled for gaming development, leaving a 5-acre rump for a future casino. The earliest listing we saw was from October 28.

It is unclear why Red Rock does not disclose in its prospectus that these two parcels are currently listed for sale. This lack of disclosure is all the more puzzling given that the company does say that another gaming-entitled parcel in its land bank is for sale – immediately after it lists off the seven parcels mentioned above: “We also own an additional development site in Las Vegas that is zoned for casino gaming and other commercial uses and which is currently for sale.”

This likely refers to what one might call the “Cactus/I-15 site”, which is located off the new Cactus Avenue ramp of I-15 south of the Las Vegas Strip. This parcel has also been on the market since at least October 28, and it is being sold “with a deed restriction precluding any gaming on entire site.” (Station Casinos had announced a “Cactus Station” project at this location back in November, 2008, before the highway exchange was built.)

Gaming-entitled land has been a scarce commodity since Nevada State Senate Bill 208 (“SB 208”) was enacted in 1997 to significantly limit the construction in large urban communities such as Las Vegas/Clark County and Reno/Washoe County. As Red Rock tells prospectus investors, one example of the ability of its “highly-experienced management team, led by the Fertitta family,” to create value has been their “capitalizing on the opportunity created by Nevada’s passage of SB 208 through a series of strategic acquisitions and new developments” (S-1/A, 3/15/16, p. 4). Furthermore, the company believes that “the development of new casino facilities will continue to be limited due to SB 208, which limited casino gaming in the Las Vegas valley to specified gaming districts and established more restrictive criteria for the creation of new gaming districts” (S-1/A, 3/15/16, p. 8). One would thus expect any large, gaming-entitled parcels – such as the ones the company has put on the market – to continue to be quite valuable.

Investors should ask Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos and its IPO underwriters:

  • Why is the company selling valuable casino sites?
  • Where will growth come from if the company is selling off future casino sites?
  • Does the Fertitta-led management team not see value in these parcels?
  • Do they not see growth opportunities that can be realized by developing these sites?
  • Do the Fertittas and other executives of Red Rock have confidence in the company’s core Las Vegas locals business?

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

Poor Corporate Governance of Red Rock Resorts Draws Attention of Institutional Investors

Update: On March 23, “[m]embers of the Council of Institutional Investors voted to adopt a new policy that all investors in initial public offerings have equal voting rights among their shares.” See also here. The official press release on the new policy is here.


The Council for Institutional Investors (CII) called Red Rock Resorts a “perfect example” for why the CII Policies Committee and board of directors approved its latest policy statement on newly public companies. CII’s policy statement calls on newly public companies to include sunset mechanisms for corporate governance provisions that insulate management from public shareholders. According to CII, Red Rock is a “perfect example” because its board approved five antitakeover provisions without including sunset mechanisms or requiring a future vote of shareholders. These provisions include:

  1. A dual-class share structure
  2. Supermajority approval provisions
  3. Limitations on actions by written consent and special meetings of stockholders
  4. Fertitta family exemption from a Delaware antitakeover statute
  5. The board’s right to issue preferred stock

The March 3, 2016 CII Governance Alert can be found here (subscription required).

In the ISS benchmark policy update for 2016, the proxy firm recommends voting against or withholding votes from directors, committee members, or the entire board, if they take actions in connection with an IPO that are adverse to shareholder rights, such as limiting shareholders’ ability to amend the company’s bylaws and charter. Glass Lewis has similar recommendations for pre-IPO boards that adopt anti-takeover provisions, poison pills, and other unilateral actions. And Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance and the SEC are hosting an event this March to discuss governance issues related to pre-IPO companies.

We have criticized the corporate governance of Red Rock Resorts, Inc. since its IPO was announced last October (and when it was still called Station Casinos, Inc.). Prospective investors should look to CII, ISS, and Glass Lewis policy recommendations on pre-IPO corporate governance and ask: “Do I want to be a second-class shareholder of Red Rock Resorts?


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