New York investment adviser Martin T. Sosnoff, who has been a major shareholder in Southern California savings and loan firms, has swiftly increased his holding in Los Angeles-based gambling operator Caesars World Inc. to 9.9% of its stock, it was disclosed Wednesday.
Caesars owns two Nevada casinos--Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Caesars Tahoe in Stateline--and one in New Jersey, Caesars Atlantic City.
Sosnoff had quietly become Caesars' largest individual shareholder even before boosting his stake from 6.9% in the last five weeks. Since then, he reported, he acquired 776,900 shares at prices from $11.26 to $12.54 a share, raising his total to 2.82 million shares.
Until recently, Caesars has not had a known stockholder with as much as 5% since New Jersey casino regulators forced company founder Clifford Perlman and his brother, Stuart, to sell their 18.2% interest in December, 1981, and quit as the two top officers.
Sosnoff, chairman and controlling stockholder of Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital Corp., New York, an investment advisory company, wrote "Humble on Wall Street" in 1975. The autobiography recounted how he became wealthy in the 1960s by trading stocks spurned by other investors.
About Feb. 20, Sosnoff disclosed in a public filing that he was then in the process of supplying information about himself to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement so he could qualify for licensing as a major stockholder of a casino.
That represented a turnabout from last September, when the New Jersey Casino Control Commission ordered Sosnoff to sell his then 4.2% of Caesars stock because he had refused to submit to investigation by the state as a major stockholder of a casino operator.
At that time, state regulators said Sosnoff also had to undergo licensing procedures because meetings he held with Caesars Chairman Henry Gluck "indicate that he has undertaken to get involved in corporate affairs."
Wednesday, in response to a question, Gluck told The Times he was "not really" concerned about Sosnoff's accumulation of the company's stock. Gluck said he understood that Sosnoff had not changed the wording in his amended 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said he purchased his Caesars shares for investment purposes only.
In response to a question, Gluck indicated that Sosnoff's reputation was basically that of an investor, rather than as one who sought to take over firms in which he made major investments.
It was disclosed last August that Sosnoff had bought 9.9% of the stock of Columbia Savings & Loan Assn., which is headquartered in Beverly Hills and has administrative offices in Irvine as well. Columbia President Thomas Spiegel called the purchase a "friendly deal."
Sosnoff also held 6% of the stock of Beverly Hills-based Gibraltar Savings & Loan Assn. as recently as last year. However, a Gibraltar spokeswoman said Wednesday that he no longer holds stock in that firm.