Gaming titan Lawrence Ho will give more than $ 800 million to James Packer as he buys a massive stake in Crown Resorts from the struggling casino mogul.
The Hong Kong-based businessman will transfer $ 880 million on Thursday, as the first payment of the agreed $ 1.76 billion for a 19.99% stake in the casino, the australian reported.
Mr Ho to buy nearly half of billionaire’s shares in the company, after Mr Packer failed to secure a $ 10 billion deal with the casino empire of Las Vegas Wynn Resorts.
Wynn’s attempt to take over resorts and casinos in Melbourne, Perth and the Sydney project was disclosed in April and abruptly halted negotiations.
Gaming titan Lawrence Ho (right, with wife Sharen) will give more than $ 800 million to James Packer (left) as he buys a massive stake in Crown Resorts from the struggling casino mogul.
Mr Ho will buy nearly half of the billionaire’s shares in the company, after Mr Packer fails to secure a $ 10 billion deal with the casino empire of Las Vegas Wynn Resorts
Mr. Ho from Macau-based entertainment company Melco Resorts & Entertainment stepped in and an offer was accepted in as little as three weeks.
The couple met in 2004 and have a long history of doing business with Mr. Lawrence, even calling his billionaire counterpart his “brother.”
In 2006, the pair managed to take the last available Macau casino license, on the south coast of China, from Wynn for US $ 900 million.
The project hit hard times in 2008 when the global financial crisis hit, but Mr. Ho and Mr. Packer, who inherited the relentless traits of their famous fathers, kept going.
Perseverance paid off and in 2015 they were able to open a second project called Studio City.
But Packer sold his shares in Melco Crown in 2016 after 19 Crown staff were arrested in China.
Almost three years later, the couple are back in partnership, and Mr. Ho described working with James again as one of the “greatest moments” of his life.
Although critics were skeptical of the deal, Mr. Ho’s father was embroiled in past controversy.
Stanley Ho, 97, has built over 15 casinos and amassed a fortune of HK $ 50 billion (AU $ 9 billion).
Its casino empire put Macau back on the map after winning the city’s first gambling license in the 1960s and building its first casino among many.
He slowly began to transform the former Portuguese trading colony into an Asian version of Las Vegas. Locals now describe him as the “King of Macau” and the “King of the Game”.
The casino giant only pulled out of the family business last year, but not before the U.S. state gaming authority alleged it was linked to Triads associates – the term local denoting Mafia-type criminals.
“Brothers For Life”: James Packer and his longtime partner Lawrence Ho, pictured above with Ho’s wife Sharen and Mariah Carey, now Packer’s ex
Mr. Ho and Mr. Packer met in 2004 and have a long history of doing business with Mr. Lawrence, even calling his billionaire counterpart his “brother.”
In 2006, the pair managed to take the last available Macau casino license, on the south coast of China, from Wynn for $ 900 million.
He told the South China Morning Post in 2000: “These reports only say that I know certain members of the triad.
– Well, maybe you’ve met some. Being a partner or knowing someone is completely different (being one). ‘
His son Lawrence has publicly distanced himself from his father and remained optimistic about his purchase at the Crown Resort.
Once the sale of the shares is completed, Consolidated Press Holdings – Mr. Packer’s private investment firm – will own approximately 26% of Crown, worth approximately $ 2.3 billion, and will remain represented on the board of administration of Crown.
Mr Packer said Crown was a stronger company with Melco as a strategic shareholder.
“The Crown has been an important part of my life for the past 20 years and it absolutely remains the case today – my continued Crown involvement represents my most significant investment,” Mr. Packer said of the ‘OK.
“I continue to be extremely interested in Crown’s success as a world-class resort and gaming company. The sale allows me to continue my long-term involvement with Crown and at the same time to better diversify my investment portfolio. ‘
The gaming mogul said he would look to “diversify his investments” after the sale.
Mr Packer said Crown was a stronger company with Melco as a strategic shareholder (stock image)
Wynn’s attempt to take over hotel and casino complexes in Melbourne, Perth and the project in Sydney (pictured) was disclosed in April and caused negotiations to abruptly halt.
THE SALE OF SLAM CROWN FROM AUSTRALIAN CRITICS TO THE EMPIRE OF HO
The NSW government has stated that Stanley Ho is not to “acquire any direct, indirect or beneficial interest in” Crown or its subsidiaries in its contract with Sydney Crown.
Critics have lambasted Crown for selling a 20% stake in Mr Ho’s company – after signing a contract with the government for its ‘gargantuan’ Sydney Harbor casino.
As a condition of building the Barangaroo Crown, the New South Wales government prohibited the company from allowing Stanley Ho or a “Stanley Ho partner” to acquire a stake in the company.
NSW Greens gambling spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said: “It was a clear condition of Crown’s VIP gambling agreement not to have any association with Stanley Ho or his associates.
“How the hell could Stanley Ho’s son not be considered an associate?”
Mr. Ho Sr resigned from the board of directors of Lawrence’s company, Melco, in 2006, and stock market watchers do not expect the clause in the contract to derail the offer.
Market watcher Stephen Mayne tweeted that he didn’t see the sale hitting regulatory issues.
“The question will be whether the governments of NSW, Vic and WA are happy that the Ho Clan gets seats on the board of directors, comes to a position of control or buys the whole company.”
Lawrence Ho was already in a joint venture with Packer’s company – called Melco Crown – when Crown signed the contract for the hotel and casino, a business that spanned more than a decade.