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Billionaire drops proxy fight against Wynn Resorts

Friday, 19 Oct 2012 | 5:45 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- A Japanese billionaire has dropped his campaign to win seats for his allies on the board of Wynn Resorts Ltd., ending a chapter in a feud with casino mogul CEO Steve Wynn.

At the same time, Kazuo Okada says he is appealing a Nevada judge's recent ruling that he can't vote his former Wynn shares at an upcoming shareholders meeting. It was a legal setback for Okada, a former Wynn friend and business partner, who once was Wynn Resorts' single largest shareholder.

Okada's company Aruze USA said Friday it has appealed the Oct. 2 ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court. "We remain confident we will ultimately prevail in our action against Wynn Resorts Ltd., its CEO and its directors," Aruze said in a news release.

Aruze acknowledged that even if it won the appeal, it probably wouldn't be in time for the Okada candidates to be presented for election at the Nov. 2 shareholders meeting.

Okada wanted to get two people he backed elected to the Wynn board. But the judge ruled that Wynn's corporate structure allowed the company in February to forcibly buy back Okada's nearly 20 percent stake at a 30 percent discount to market value.

Okada and Steve Wynn have traded accusations of unethical or illegal conduct during the dispute. The company made the forced redemption of Okada's shares after saying that he had made improper payments to overseas gambling regulators.

Okada, for his part, had blamed a decline in Wynn's stock price on what he called lost shareholder confidence in company management.

Wynn Resorts shares fell $2.68 to close at $115.62. They have traded between $90.11 and $142.20 in the past 52 weeks.

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