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Universal looks for new listing for casino
Posted on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 12:35
Universal Entertainment is pursuing a backdoor float in Manilla for its casino operator Tiger Resort Asia.

Tiger has made a deal to acquire 66.6 per cent of the voting shares of listed investment holding company Asiabest Group for PHP 646.50 million (USD 12.00 million) and buy out minority shareholders.

The purchase will allow the company access onto the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) through a special block sale commencing on 12th November 2018, Reuters notes.

In an article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tiger had planned to find a backdoor listing through other suitors, but was delayed by intra-corporate squabbling.

An acquisition adds to Tiger’s portfolio, which already owns Okada Manila, a newly-opened casino resort in the country’s gaming strip, worth USD 2.40 billion.

Neither Universal nor its subsidiary commented on the matter, but as a result of the transaction, a voluntary trading suspension was set up yesterday by Asiabest.

A deal follows a public condemnation of the industry last month by the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte, stating that no new casinos will be allowed to operate during his tenure.

Furthermore, he also curtailed an integrated casino project of Landing International worth USD 1.50 billion, representing a blow to one of the fastest growing gambling markets in Asia.

Due to Duterte’s scrutiny on casinos, a deal between Tiger and Asiabest will have to meet clearance from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Reuters noted.

Its regulator, Andrea Domingo said: “Any application by our licensee to undergo public listing will require approval of Pagcor but we have not received any application yet from Tiger.”

According to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk, there have been 21 deals targeting casino hotels providers announced worldwide since the beginning of 2018.

T Rowe Price Associates agreed to buy a minority stake in casino resorts operator Wynn Resorts, in the largest of these for USD 2.20 billion.

Other companies targeted in this sector include Listed Investments (USD 1.47 million), Sands Bethworks Gaming (USD 1.30 million), and Tropicana Entertainment (USD 1.21 million).

© Zephus Ltd