Owners of the $2.4-billion integrated resort Okada Manila, located in the Philippine capital, are reportedly in talks with local holding firms for the potential backdoor-listing of the gaming business. The resort had its official opening this spring.
Local news outlet Inquirer Business today reported citing unnamed sources that Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, which is known to be the manager of the luxury casino complex, is entering the final stages of negotiations to acquire publicly listed firm Bright Kindle Resources and Investments Inc.
According to people with considerable knowledge of the matter the casino resort’s owner had previously discussed potential acquisition with three firms, but it was eventually Bright Kindle Resources that caught its attention as a suitable vehicle to potentially list its business in the Philippines. Reportedly, negotiations over the terms of the acquisition deal are expected to be completed within the next several weeks.
Another source pointed out that the upcoming acquisition would only come as part of the Okada Manila owners’ preparatory work for eventual listing on the Philippine stock market. The actual listing, which will be performed by infusion of the gambling business into Bright Kindle Resources, is expected to occur after around two years.
As mentioned above, Tiger Resort is the company behind the Okada Manila integrated resort. It is a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment Corp., the Japanese manufacturer of pachinko gaming machines. Universal Entertainment was founded by Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada. Earlier this year, Mr. Okada was ousted from the board of the gaming machine manufacturer and from the boards of a number of its subsidiaries over suspicions that he had transferred a considerable amount of money to a third party which then extended the money to a company owned by the businessman himself.
Backdoor-Listing Popular among Manila’s Casino Resorts
Okada Manila was the third casino resort to open doors within the Entertainment City, multi-billion dollar scheme located at the heart of the Philippine capital. And it will be the third resort to have its managing company backdoor-listed. Bloomberry, the owner of Solaire Resort & Casino, opted for backdoor-listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange back in 2012.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment, the Hong Kong-based casino developer owned by Lawrence Ho, also listed its Manila gaming operations through a listing vehicle. The resorts were the first and the second one to open doors as part of the major Entertainment City project.
Okada Manila eventually opened doors in the spring of 2017 after several delays partly caused by owner Tiger Resort’s failure to find a local partner to work with on the $2.4-billion scheme. In 2015, it partnered local businessman Antonio Cojuangco. Under Philippine laws, a foreign casino investor can only operate in the country if working with a local partner.