Stephen A. Wynn

, chairman of

Mirage Resorts


, impresario of

Siegfried & Roy

, innkeeper to the super-wealthy and catalyst for Las Vegas' renaissance, is out of a job.

At 58, as investors lost patience with him, he has accepted a $4.4 billion

offer to sell his opulent casino empire to

MGM Grand


. He could retire.

And the


could begin serving Pop-Tarts.

But gaming industry analysts would sooner draw to an inside straight than bet on either prospect.

For starters, when the all-cash deal closes late this year, Wynn will be terribly rich and his assets overwhelmingly liquid. At $21 a share, the chairman's 23.9 million shares are worth around $501.4 million. Under the original offer of $17 a share, Wynn's shares, constituting an 11.8% ownership, would have been worth $405.9 million.

His wife, Elaine P. Wynn, owns 250,123 shares worth around $5.5 million, while his brother Kenneth R. Wynn owns 1.2 million shares worth $24.7 million.

None of the Wynns will make exactly that amount, though. Many of their shares, including 13.2 million of Stephen Wynn's, are in the form of options, many exercisable at $7 or $14 a share.

The options all became exercisable on Feb. 29, the day Mirage rejected MGM Grand's $17-a-share offer, according to filings with the

Securities and Exchange Commission


Though he will have to put up some money to redeem his shares, analysts estimate Wynn, whose 1999 salary was $2.5 million plus a $1.25 million bonus, will still clear at least $400 million.

"What does Steve Wynn want to do with the money?" asked Dennis Forst, analyst for

McDonald Investments

. "I don't think he wants to retire."

(Forst rates MGM shares a buy and Mirage shares neutral. His firm has done no underwriting for either company.)

Wynn was hard-pressed to turn down the $21-a-share offer without risking lawsuits contending a breach of fiduciary duties, analysts noted. Though he is out of the gaming industry for the moment, analysts guessing Wynn's next move immediately looked at Nevada and New Jersey.

Perhaps he will "contemplate using the proceeds to acquire the

Desert Inn




to develop a small, boutique luxury casino on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip," wrote Jason Ader, an analyst for

Bear Stearns

, in a report issued minutes before the deal was disclosed.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide tried to sell the Desert Inn, an 800-room hotel located diagonally across from

Treasure Island

and boasting the only golf course on the Strip, to

Sun International Hotels


for $250 million to $275 million. The deal fell through last week.

(Ader rates MGM Grand's shares buy and doesn't cover Mirage. His firm has co-managed a stock offering for MGM Grand, and a managing director is on Mirage's board.)

Other analysts suggested Wynn could go to Atlantic City, N.J., where he had planned significant expansion for Mirage and where his

Golden Nugget

casino once thrived. Perhaps the newly combined MGM Grand and Mirage, which both own undeveloped properties there, will have some extra acreage for sale, suggested Daniel Davila, analyst for

Southcoast Capital

. (Davila rates both stocks strong buy, and his firm hasn't done underwriting for either.)

"He was going to Atlantic City to begin with because he felt like he could," Davila said. "Not a whole lot has changed."

Forst, the McDonald Investments analyst, noted that Wynn could probably buy a hotel or casino with his windfall, but that he should maintain civil relations with Wall Street if he plans to finance any construction.

Alan Feldman, a spokesman for Mirage, noted that Wynn's current role "is to continue running Mirage as carefully as he has" until the deal goes through.

In an interview broadcast on


, J. Terrence Lanni, MGM Grand's chairman, said Wynn does not have a job offer from MGM Grand. "He's a very talented fellow," Lanni said. "Whatever he decides to do upon the close of this merger is up to him."

Calling Wynn "talented" paints an incomplete picture, in one analyst's view.

"He's very creative and he's very idiosyncratic," Davila said. "Those are two very good qualities to have when you're sitting on the pile of money he is now."