Hotel king adds a jewel to his crown

Their relationship began to sour after the Mirage opened and Adelson complained about noise from the eruptions of its signature faux volcano across the street from the Sands. Wynn, whose sole Las Vegas operation is now the Wynn Las Vegas, directly north of the Venetian and Palazzo, has complained about Adelson's employee parking arrangement, and the height of the Palazzo, which is taller than the Wynn.

Wynn, through a spokesman last week, declined to comment for this article.

Rivals' fates are forever linked

Adelson said that he and Wynn have not spoken in years and that he has not been in Wynn's current resort. Yet, the financial interests of their companies are linked.

Last year, the Venetian Macao's revenue for its first month of operation failed to meet Wall Street expectations, prompting both Las Vegas Sands' and Wynn Resorts' stock prices to slide as investors re-evaluated their euphoria over Macau. Adelson blamed the correction on Morgan Stanley's Brown, whose revenue estimates, he said, weren't realistic. He also claims the analyst called to apologize to him later.

Brown recalled that conversation not as an apology but as a "clearing of the air" and said that she still believes that Las Vegas Sands is a fundamentally sound company that "longer term, will get a fantastic return." Deutsche Bank gaming-stock analyst Bill Lerner forecasts that Las Vegas Sands stock will soar to $120 a share this year.

At 74, Adelson knows he can't lead his company forever. He's giving away millions every year to medical research and other causes. He says Las Vegas Sands will be run by the executives now in place. Adelson acknowledges that there's no telling where he'll rank when Forbes does its list next time. But "I'm doing OK," he quipped. "Don't run a benefit for me."

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