Update June 1. If you look REAL hard I think you can see signs of a bottom in the Macao gaming market. Which would be good news for MGM Resorts International (MGM) and the planned first quarter 2017 opening of the MGM Cotai. (That casino/hotel would increase MGM Resorts percentage of Macao rooms to 7.6% from the current 3%.) Gross gaming revenue in Macao fell 9.6% year over year in May but revenue climbed 6% from April. (Revenue had dropped 9.5% year over year in April.) Back in the Las Vegas market, revenue from the Las Vegas Strip, where MGM Resorts International has the dominant room and property share, fell 1.54% in May year over year. That drop isn’t as good as a gain in revenue, but it is reassuringly stable. And yesterday, May 31, MGM Resorts announced that it would acquire Boyd Gaming’s (BYD) 50% stake in Atlantic City’s Borgata hotel and casino for $900 million, giving MGM Resorts 100% ownership of the Borgata, which has been Atlantic City’s best performing casino pretty much since it opened in 2003.. MGM Resorts will sell the entire property to MGM Growth Properties, it’s new REIT, for $1.18 billion. As of June 1 I’m raising my target price on these shares to $26 from the current $16 on signs of an impending bottom in Macao and the ahead-of-schedule progress on the company’s cost-cutting plan. MGM Resorts had set a goal of $200 million in cost reductions for 2016 with a resulting increase in EBITDA margins to 30% in 2017. In the first quarter MGM Resorts reported a 524 basis point improvement in EBITDA margins to 30% putting MGM Resorts in a position to handily beat its 2017 margin goal. (EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It takes 100 basis points to make up 1 percentage point.) Shares of MGM Resorts International were trading at $23.17, up 1.44%, as of noon on June 1.
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