Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 | 5:38 p.m.
Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Michael A. Leven intends to sell up to 1,758,349 shares of Las Vegas Sands stock next year as part of a pre-arranged stock trading plan, the company said today.
Leven is selling shares "as part of his individual long-term strategy for asset diversification, tax and family planning," according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He would retain a total of 1,863,612 shares and options if he completes all of the transactions as planned, including 350,000 shares of restricted stock yet to be granted in January under his new employment agreement, the filing said.
Leven took the job in March 2009, replacing ousted executive William Weidner, and recently signed a two-year extension to his employment contract. The former Holiday Inn executive has served as a director of Las Vegas Sands since 2004.
Las Vegas Sands owns the Venetian and Palazzo casinos on the Strip but generates most of its earnings in Asia, where the company has four resorts and ambitious growth plans. And while earnings remain depressed in Las Vegas, they are skyrocketing in Singapore and Macau.
The company's shares have soared nearly threefold this year, outpacing its gaming industry peers. Optimism about future growth has been tempered by regulatory uncertainty in Macau, where the government recently rejected the company's development plans on two parcels of land.