The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Feb. 24
5. Wynn's Wacky War
Come on Kazuo Okada! Do you not know the song? You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger. And you don't mess around with Steve Wynn!
Perhaps Okada, the biggest stakeholder in Wynn Resorts (WYNN) with $2.7 billion of the company's shares, forgot the lyrics before finding himself at odds with the Vegas tycoon this weekend.
The battle between the casino big-wigs, and former best buddies, escalated on Sunday morning with Wynn forcibly buying back all Okada's shares at a 30% discount. Aside from snatching his stock, Wynn also filed suit against the Japanese tycoon, accusing him of buying off overseas gaming regulators and violating U.S. anti-corruption laws in the process.
Most notably, Wynn was in sharp disagreement over Okada's allegedly shifty dealings in the Philippines, where he was developing a property without Wynn, but publicly acting like he had the casino impresario's imprimatur.
Wait. So how did Steve Wynn know Okada was bribing foreign authorities with cash and goodies?
Simple. He hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to tail him.
Hey! Give Louie a break. He's a former government employee and doing Steve Wynn's dirty work is good work if you can get it.
Anyway, based on Freeh's digging, Wynn Resorts is now pushing to have Okada removed from its board, labeling him "unsuitable" to serve. Yes, you heard correctly, a Las Vegas casino is muscling out a high roller for tucking money into political pockets.
Oh no! Quick, somebody tell Newt Gingrich's money-man Sheldon Adelson over at the Sands that the jig is up!
More to the point, what about Wynn Resorts' $135 million donation to the University of Macau? It's not as if Steve Wynn cares about educating Chinese kids about something other than the basics of baccarat. Seriously, if that ain't pay to play, then we don't know what is.
Anyway, Okada said Sunday he plans to "take all legal actions necessary" to beat back his former partner. Nevertheless, few oddsmakers would give him much of a shot considering Wynn's connections, clout and competitive streak.
Like we said, you don't mess around with Steve Wynn. Unless, of course, you are Elaine Wynn, the casino mogul's ex-wife who took him for a billion bucks two years ago in the largest divorce settlement ever.
But that's a different song entirely.
4. J&J's Total Recall
Luckily the founders of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shared a surname, otherwise its latest group of workers probably would have difficulty trying to recall their own employer's name.
And when we say recall, we mean recall.
The health care products maker announced last Friday it is pulling all infant Tylenol off the U.S. market after parents complained that the protective covers on its recently redesigned bottles were problematic.