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CES Host Las Vegas Sands Seeks New Financing

It seems impossible, but America's third richest man, computer trade show and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, may be running out of money.

Actually, it's Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. that needs money as the international casino and hotel developer has been pressured by the current worldwide economic meltdown and by the firm's ambitious building programs in Macau and Las Vegas.

On Monday, Las Vegas Sands reported a $32.2 million loss on revenues of $1.21 billion in its third quarter and outlined a new financing plan. The company said it would curtail construction on its Macau facilities, but continue building casinos in Singapore and Pennsylvania.

Just a few short months ago, Forbes Magazine listed Adelson as the third richest American, trailing only Microsoft's Bill Gates and Gates' good friend Warren Buffett in the rankings. But that was before the stock of Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp. plunged from more than $100 a share to less than $9. The company's stock continued to drop in early trading on Tuesday, dipping below $7 a share.

The company is hoping that January's CES show, which typically draws more than 100,000 people, will help support the company's stock, because many of the show's events will be held at its convention facilities in Las Vegas. Adelson is no stranger to computer industry people -- he developed the Comdex show, which used to draw more than 200,000, before he sold it to Japan's Softbank Corporation in 1995 for about $800 million.

Building his empire in the 1970s as an investor in Boston-area electronics and computer startups and through his Interface Group trade show operation, Adelson continued building casinos and hotels in Las Vegas and Macau. The company's Venetian Macau is reported to be the second largest building in Asia with a cost and debt commensurate with its gigantic size. And therein lies much of Adelson's company financial problems. The firm needs new financing to continue its ambitious building plans.