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Tickers: CZR, LVS, PENN, SGMS, WYNN, H, HOT, WYN, CCL, RCL

EVENTS

  • Sept 9: 
    • BofAML Gaming & Lodging Conference
    • GLPI & HPT at Wells Fargo Net Lease REIT Forum
    • EXPE & OWW at DB Technology Conference
  • Sept 11:
    • Macau Legend at Credit Suisse Macau Gaming Day
    • MGM China at Credit Suisse Macau Gaming Day
    • Sand China Ltd at Credit Suisse Macau Gaming Day

COMPANY NEWS

CZR (Bloomberg) will begin talks with at least five senior bondholders to restructure the obligations of its biggest unit, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. Pacific Investment Management Co., Elliott Management Corp., BlackRock Inc., Brigade Capital Management LLC and Beach Point Capital Management LP have agreed to enter confidentiality agreements with the company to formally begin talks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. The agreements signal talks are heating up to restructure about $12 billion of bonds as the company struggles to service debt taken on in its 2008 buyout by Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG Capital.

Takeaway: Long road ahead but positive development

GENM:MK – received regulatory approval to raise up to 5 billion ringgit ($1.58 billion) with medium-term notes. Funds will go towards operating expenses, capital expenses, investments and property development, the Company said in an announcement to the stock exchange.  Notes from the programme will have a maturity of one to 20 years.

Takeaway: A sizable capital raise for Genting Malaysia, could an acquisition be in the near future?

LVS & 1928:HK – announced an "8-Day Flash Sale - Save Up To 40% Off" room rates at its Macao properties for bookings September 9 - 16, 2014 for stays until February 20, 2015.

Takeaway: Interesting timing to announce a hotel room sale in Macau, given the mass and VIP segment gaming revenue weakness.

PENN (abc22now.com) Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway at 12:01 AM late Friday night/early Saturday morning, a coding error activated a promotion that gave everyone on the floor free play, and workers did not catch the mistake for several hours. Despite the money lost overnight, the Racino held that promotion anyway, which resulted in even more winners.

Takeaway: Despite this error, Dayton outperformed expectations.

SGMS – announced that it has signed an extension of its contract with the Colorado Lottery to continue as a provider of instant lottery games and related services. Under the agreement with the Colorado Lottery, Scientific Games will continue as the Lottery's primary instant game provider for three additional years beginning July 1, 2014.

Takeaway: Good contract extension.

H – announced Gebhard F. Rainer, Executive Vice President and CFO, notified the Company that he will step down effective September 26, 2014 to pursue another professional opportunity. Mr. Rainer’s resignation is not a result of any disagreement with the Company’s independent auditors or any member of management on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or internal controls. As of September 26, 2014, Mr. Mark S. Hoplamazian, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will assume the additional duties of principal financial officer of the Company pending the search for Mr. Rainer’s replacement.

Takeaway: An unfortunate departure for Hyatt. 

HOT – priced an offering of $350 million principal amount of 3.750% senior notes due 2025 and $300 million principal amount of 4.500% senior notes due 2034 through an underwritten public offering. The closing of the offering is expected to occur on September 15, 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions. Starwood intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of commercial paper, repurchases of its common stock, or the payment of previously announced special dividends to stockholders.

Takeaway: More evidence of an expedited share repurchase program. As a result of the lower share count, earnings estimates will be revised higher for 2015 and beyond.

HOT – Grand Wailea, the Maui hotel in the Waldorf Astoria portfolio, will receive $30 million in upgrades. Improvements include upgraded meeting spaces, guestroom updates such as 55-inch flat-screen TVs and the addition of property-wide artwork from local artists. Work is scheduled to be completed next year.  The 780-room Grand Wailea opened near the southwestern corner of Maui in 1991. The hotel was acquired by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. last year.

Takeaway: Repositioning and reprogramming assets for the ADR up trend.

WYN (Pocono Record) is on the verge of selling 525 acres of steep, heavily wooded, undeveloped land in Smithfield Township New Jersey to the National Park Service. According to The Trust for Public Land, the 525 acres will likely be sold for about $4 million. Final sales price will be based on an appraisal yet to be performed. In 2004, WYN purchased the 1,000 acre tract from the original developer. Since then WYN, has decided it was not in its best interest to pursue a home development business and thus is selling the land. 

Takeaway: Simplifying the balance sheet and selling non-performing assets.

CCL – Celebrity Cruises has canceled the November 21 three-night sailing of Celebrity Constellation in order to replace a piece of the ship's diesel engine. Affected passengers are being notified and offered alternate sailings or a full refund. Constellation is using the two gas turbine engines instead of the diesel engine. As such, there has been no impact to the ship's top speed. All passengers booked on the November 21 sailing may rebook on select Constellation sailings in 2015, in like accommodations, at protected/lowest-available rates, or on any Celebrity sailing at prevailing rates and receive $100 in onboard credit per cabin ($200 for those booked in suites). The select dates available for Celebrity Constellation are: January 5 or 24, February 7 or 21, or March 7.

Takeaway:  Celebrity has been having multiple operational problems lately.

CCL(Travel Weekly) is waiving deposits on some cruises and lowering the threshold for tour conductor credits to encourage group bookings in September. Through Sept. 30, initial deposits will be waived on groups booked for sailings between March 1, 2015, and April 30, 2016. Agents doing group bookings are eligible for a free berth for every 10 booked; the normal rate is one free berth for every 15 booked. As a special bonus, Carnival is offering one free cruise berth for every eight full-fare guests berthed on select five- to 14-day sailings from a number of ports, including Galveston, Baltimore, New York, San Juan and Port Canaveral. Group fares for the promotion begin at $249 for three- to five-day cruises and $449 for voyages of six days or longer. Certain restrictions apply, Carnival said.

Takeaway:  Promotional environment has not slowed.

RCL (Travel Weekly) Azamara Club Cruises has changed Le Club Voyage, its loyalty program, by adding new features but dropping others, including free Internet and laundry service. Among the new benefits are more complimentary voyage nights for achieving a higher tier in the program. 

INDUSTRY NEWS 

National Basketball Association (NBA) on Sports Betting – Adam Silver, commissioner of North America's National Basketball Association (NBA) league, has predicted that struggling state budgets and a wider acceptance of gambling by US citizens will lead to legalized sports betting across the country. Speaking at the Bloomberg Sport Business Summit, Silver said that the NBA does not have any moral issues with gambling on games and is not against such moves.

Takeaway: Expect the NBA owners group to weigh-in on the topic and demand their fair share of the revenues.

New Jersey Sports Betting – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Attorney General John Hoffman declared New Jersey casinos and racetracks can offer sports betting without fear of prosecution or civil liability, setting up another possible showdown with professional and college leagues. Sports wagering at casinos and racetracks is now legal as long as it doesn’t involve New Jersey’s college teams or any collegiate events in the state, according to AG Hoffman.  The directive came as Gov. Christie started his Atlantic City Gaming Summit with industry executives and legislators yesterday. 

Takeaway: Pulling the goalie to help promote New Jersey gaming. Positive for CZR and BYD.

Trump Entertainment Resorts – filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company owns two properties in Atlantic City. Trump Plaza is set to cease operations on Sept. 16, and the Trump Taj Mahal may also shut in November. A bankruptcy court reorganization could give Carl Icahn two additional hotels in Atlantic City. Funds controlled by the New York-based billionaire are Trump Entertainment’s largest creditor. Icahn also controls 68 percent of Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Inc., which owns the Tropicana in Atlantic City. This will be the third time the entire company was put into bankruptcy -- it sought court protection in 2004 and again in 2009, when Trump gave up the chairmanship. Trump Entertainment sold the Trump Marina hotel to Landry’s Inc. for $38 million in 2011. It has since been renamed the Golden Nugget.

Takeaway: Less competition in AC

Room Key – CEO John Davis will step down at the end of the month. Davis has led the hotel booking website since its 2012 launch. Room Key is owned by six hotel companies: InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Hotel Group, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels Corp. The website, created to reduce online distribution costs relative to selling though online travel agencies, lists hotels from more than 100 brands. Steve Sickel, a former executive with InterContinental Hotels Group, will take over as interim CEO. Davis is the co-founder of 1-800-FLOWERS and the founder of hotel technology company Pegasus Solutions.  Sickel was most recently senior vice president of distribution and relationship marketing at IHG before stepping down late last year to start a consulting company.

MACRO

Hedgeye remains negative on consumer spending and believes in more inflation.  Following  a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye

Macro/Financials team is turning decidedly less positive. 

Takeaway:  We’ve found housing prices to be the single most significant factor in driving gaming revenues over the past 20 years in virtually all gaming markets across the US.