With top lieutenant Bill Weidner having made his exit this week, the future of Las Vegas Sands now more than ever hangs on the next move by chairman, chief executive and majority owner Sheldon Adelson. Analysts see a fair chance that the company will default on its loans later this year unless it can come up with more cash than its casinos currently generate (see first chart). But new bank lending is still flowing at a trickle and is prohibitively expensive. So, what to do? Asked this week at a Deutsche Bank investors' forum how he planned to raise money, Mr Adelson quipped: 'I'm going to go back in history and pick up Willie Sutton. He was the guy who said 'Rob the bank because that's where the money is'.' Unfortunately, even that would probably fall short: Mr Sutton, over his long bank-robbing career, made off with only a few million dollars, at best. While Las Vegas Sands now has more than US$2 billion cash in hand thanks to a discounted share sale in November, it still has a US$10.47 billion mountain of debt with which to contend (see second chart). It would seem to have been a rough week for Mr Adelson, who fell to No178 on a Forbes list of billionaires published yesterday, with a net worth estimated at US$3.4 billion. That was a sharp drop from 2007, when the magazine said he was worth US$28 billion and ranked him behind Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as the third richest person in America. But Mr Adelson has put on a game face, donned his salesman's hat and is attempting to negotiate the sale of any number of Macau assets - shopping malls, serviced apartments, operating casinos and half-finished resort projects. The company's financial position doesn't make the sale a case of 'everything must go'. But something probably should. Mr Adelson said this week that the company's bankers, Goldman Sachs, were in talks with around 19 potential buyers over a sale of the massive shopping malls attached to the Venetian and Four Seasons resorts in Macau. A more interesting option would be the sale of an equity stake in an operating Macau casino. While highly complicated from a regulatory perspective, selling a partial stake in either the Sands or Venetian could bring in a windfall. The Sands, for example, cost just under US$500 million to build but has generated US$1.44 billion in cash flow (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) over the past 4? years. And then there is the half-built, 6,400-room Sheraton, Shangri-La, Traders and St Regis resort complex on Cotai across the street from the Venetian. Las Vegas Sands had spent US$1.65 billion on the project as of December, and planned to spend another US$540 million, which includes money still owed to contractors. Mr Adelson said two Asian construction firms had expressed interest in taking a stake in the project and injecting money to finish the work. He said he planned to travel to the region next week for a series of meetings with these potential investors. To top it all off, he said the company had identified some US$470 million in potential global cost savings that, if implemented, might even negate the need to sell off assets. 'Don't think that we have one foot in the pit of bankruptcy and the other on a banana peel in the middle of a hurricane,' Mr Adelson told the forum. 'We are not going to hell in a hand basket.'