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Mets Owner Cohen Hedge Fund Buys Shares Of Casino REIT VICI

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Posted on: May 26, 2022, 09:47h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2022, 10:18h.

Gaming real estate investment trust (REIT) VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI) has a fan in New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

casino REIT
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. His hedge fund bought shares of VICI Properties in the first quarter. (Image: Sporting News)

Cohen’s hedge fund — Point72 Asset Management — bought 633,800 shares of the Caesars Palace owner in the first quarter, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The move came as some other well-known professional investors liquidated stakes in the real estate company.

As the New York Post reports, Cohen’s VICI fandom is part of Point72’s broader embrace of defensive stocks with dividend yields in excess of 10-year Treasury yields. The casino landlord checks those boxes.

Entering Thursday, shares of VICI were down just 1.46% year-to-date, sharply outperforming the S&P 500 and the popular Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund (NYSE:VNQ). With a dividend yield of 4.85%, the casino REIT yields nearly 210 basis points more than 10-year US government bonds.

VICI Small, But Potentially Mighty

Point72 previously had and currently maintains other gaming positions as part of a sprawling equity portfolio that includes nearly 1,500 investments.

Regarding VICI, the hedge fund’s stake in the casino REIT was valued at $18.03 million at the end of the first quarter, ranking 354th among Point72’s positions, according to WhaleWisdom data. The money manager owns dozens of other real estate equities. But as of March 31, it doesn’t own shares of Gaming and Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI) — the only other publicly traded gaming landlord.

In VICI, Point72 is investing in a company fresh off the $17.2 billion purchase of MGM Growth Properties – a deal that created the largest casino REIT and the biggest landlord on the Las Vegas Strip.

VICI is now the largest owner of hotel and conference real estate in the US. VICI adds Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York New York, and Park MGM, as well as various regional casinos operated by MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM).

In addition to the aforementioned MGM venues, VICI owns some of the Strip’s most venerable properties, including Caesars Palace, the Venetian, and the Venetian Expo and Convention Center.

Other Gaming Stocks on Point72 Roster

Cohen’s hedge fund added 388,146 shares in the first quarter to a previously existing position in Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS). That’s one of dozens of consumer discretionary stocks held by the money manager, but the only one currently in the portfolio directly involved in operating casinos.

It’s merely coincidence, but Cohen has been rumored to be in talks to bring a casino to Citi Field — the Mets’ ballpark — and speculation is swirling Sands is the company that could operate that venue, assuming it comes to life.

Caesars Entertainment is the official sportsbook partner of the Mets.

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