LAS VEGAS — Miriam Adelson is one of the richest women in the world, a U.S. and Israel newspaper publisher and political powerbroker who, after selling $2 billion in stock to buy the Dallas Mavericks, will still be the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino company her late husband built.
A company statement on Wednesday confirmed the deal on behalf of the Adelson and the Dumont families — referring to relatives of her son-in-law, Sands company president and board member Patrick Dumont.
The transaction could close in less than five weeks, the statement said, if it gets approval from the NBA board of governors. It could take longer; typically the NBA vetting process takes a month or two to complete, and there is no set timeframe.
The $3.5 billion purchase from team owner Mark Cuban would make Adelson one of a few female owners of a U.S. professional sports franchise, and one of the wealthiest overall. Her net worth, including family trusts, was reported by Forbes at about $32 billion, ranking her fifth-richest among women in the U.S. and 35th-richest billionaire in the world.
Las Vegas Sands and Adelson and Dumont families representative Ron Reese declined Wednesday to comment. Adelson, a physician, rarely gives interviews; in 2021, she told Las Vegas television station KNTV about her work with people fighting addictions.
“Send me people who are sick. I can help them,” Adelson said in that interview. “I'm not for profit. It's all philanthropy. And I would like to help to save more lives.”
Cuban was honored by the Adelson family at their annual Pursuit of Excellence gala in Las Vegas in 2017 for his work in technology, one of the top priorities of the Adelsons’ educational programs for children.
Miriam Adelson spoke highly of Cuban at that event.
“A good person with good values, though he is totally opposite of us in his political views,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal then. The Adelson family owns that newspaper.
Adelson, 78, was born in Israel in 1945, the year World War II ended, and later moved to New York City where her medical work focused on addiction treatment.
In 1991, she married Sheldon Adelson, the son of Jewish immigrants raised in a Boston tenement who went on to build the Las Vegas Sands empire. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1988. Sheldon Adelson died in 2021.
The publicly traded company they headed, based in Las Vegas, bought the historic Sands hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and imploded it in 1996 to build the Venetian and Palazzo resorts.
In 2022, less than a year after Sheldon Adelson's death, the company sold the Venetian, Palazzo and adjacent Venetian Expo Center for $6.25 billion to a private equity firm and a real estate investment trust. It now only has casino operations abroad, including five properties in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau and one in Singapore.
The Adelsons became major Republican Party donors in the U.S., and established family philanthropic foundations with goals “to strengthen the State of Israel and the Jewish people” and to focus on healthcare including drug addiction treatment clinics in Tel Aviv and Las Vegas.
The Adelsons were top financial backers of former President Donald Trump before, during and after his term in the White House, and helped pay legal expenses of Trump aides during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of whether the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.
In 2018, Trump awarded Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the nation reserves for a civilian. Cuban is a longtime critic of Trump.
“Miriam, I want to thank you very much for saving so many lives and helping so many people to get back to a normal way of life,” Trump said that day at the White House before presenting Adelson with her medal. “You’ve been incredible. I know the work you’ve done. And you have been truly incredible.”
Trump has also cited Adelson's influence in other decisions he made regarding pardons, like the one he gave to financier Michael Milken, the “junk bond king” who served two years in prison in the early 1990s after pleading guilty to violating U.S. securities laws.
Miriam Adelson has remained a major party donor and benefactor for the Republican Jewish Coalition, which hosted Republican candidates in Las Vegas in October. But she has vowed to stay neutral in the 2024 U.S. presidential primary.
The Adelson family purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper, in 2015, and owns the company that is the primary shareholder in Israel Hayom, a widely distributed Hebrew-language free daily newspaper that is seen as friendly to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an Israel Hayom opinion column published last week and referring to the Oct. 7 surprise attacks on Israel by Hamas militants out of Gaza, Miriam Adelson wrote that “foreign fans of Hamas are our enemies, the ideological enablers in the West of those who would go to any length to eradicate us from the Middle East. And, as such, they should be dead to us.”
Miriam Adelson has no corporate role with Las Vegas Sands, but the Securities and Exchange Commission filing that disclosed the $2 billion stock sale said she will retain 51.3% of company shares afterward.
Before Sheldon Adelson died, he helped spur efforts to lure the NFL's Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas but then pulled out of a $650 million pledge toward a $2 billion, 60,000-seat stadium that in 2020 became home to the team.
In recent years, the city once shunned by pro sports leagues has become a tourism, entertainment and sports capital home to championship franchises with the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights and WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, and recently hosted its first Formula One race, the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Major League Baseball owners recently voted to let the Oakland Athletics relocate to Las Vegas, and the city is frequently mentioned as a possible home for an NBA team.
But a move by the Mavericks to Las Vegas is unlikely because Cuban will retain responsibility over basketball operations in Dallas, where he has expressed interest in partnering with Las Vegas Sands to open a casino and sports arena complex.
The Mavericks share an arena in Dallas with the NHL's Dallas Stars. The hockey team's president, Brad Alberts, told The Dallas Morning News this week that he's excited about the prospects of the sale.
“I’m not surprised at all on this,” Alberts told the newspaper. “Mark’s desire to work towards a casino is obviously all well-known by everyone, including us."
It was unclear if Miriam Adelson will be seen courtside with Cuban at Mavericks games. The expectation is that Dumont will likely take the seat that the family would be entitled to on the NBA's board of governors once the sale is complete.