A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Tuesday against any pretrial victory for some bondholders of casino group Caesars Entertainment Corp, reports the Wall Street Journal newspaper.
Two lawsuits by investors in that asset class accused the firm of stripping value from its main operating unit – Caesars Entertainment Operating Co (CEOC) – thereby allegedly hurting creditors.
CEOC entered voluntary bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on January 15, with US$18 billion of debt.
Caesars Entertainment had US$7 billion in debt as of September, according to data from Morningstar Inc, a U.S.-based investment research and investment management firm.
Judge Shira Scheindlin, sitting in Manhattan, New York, said on Tuesday she wanted to see the facts outlined at trial before deciding whether a series of asset transfers improperly erased the parent’s guarantees on debts owed by the operating unit, as some bondholders allege, reported the newspaper.
In other developments, on December 21, Lippo Ltd, an investment holding company, gave in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange an update on a proposed joint venture at Incheon, South Korea, involving a unit of Caesars Entertainment, and a land deal connected to it.
In December last year a consortium known as LOCZ Korea Corp said it had made a conditional deal to acquire the land for a potential casino project at Incheon, in South Korea, for just under US$95.9 million.
Members of LOCZ Korea Corp include Caesars Korea Holding Co LLC, a U.S. firm wholly owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp, and OUE International Holdings Pte Ltd, a Singapore company that is wholly owned by Singapore real estate firm OUE Ltd.
The OUE parent was in turn 55 percent owned by the Lippo group of companies, according to a Moody’s Investors Service report on Caesars Entertainment Corp issued in April 2014.
Lippo Ltd’s update on the South Korea project mentioned neither a casino nor Caesars’ involvement: it focused only on the land deal.
But it stated: “As at the date of this announcement, not all of the conditions precedent to closing have been satisfied.” It added they were not likely to be resolved prior to the long stop date this Thursday.
Lippo Ltd noted however that it – together with the other members of the consortium – had “entered into discussions and negotiations with the vendor of the target lots… with a view of, amongst other things, discussing mutually acceptable solutions to progress certain of the outstanding conditions”.
Lippo Ltd added: “As at the date of this announcement, there remains to be a number of uncertainties relating to the project…”
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China