A business founded by Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada is in talks to acquire a firm already listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, in order to inject the Philippine casino resort asset Okada Manila (pictured) into the target business, reported the Philippine Inquirer, citing several sources it did not identify.
Earlier this year several media outlets in the Philippines had reported that Mr Okada was himself considering a way to list the Manila casino venture, which is managed by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp is the parent company of Tiger Resort.
The Inquirer suggested in the latest report that three listed firms had been looked at, with the current favourite said to be Bright Kindle Resources and Investments Inc.
According to its latest annual report, Bright Kindle was incorporated in the Philippines in 1981 as a credit card firm called Bankard Inc, and listed its shares in 1995. Prior to late 2013, the company was a subsidiary of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, when a company called RYM Business Management Corp took a near 77 percent stake and changed the name to the present handle. It is currently said to be an investment holding firm.
The Inquirer reported that, “barring unforeseen events” discussions on the acquisition by Mr Okada’s side of Bright Kindle could be “wrapped up in the next few weeks”.
Okada Manila, slated as a multi-phase US$2.4-billion scheme, had a soft opening on December 21 last year.
A rival investor in the Philippine casino market – Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd – used the 2012 acquisition of an existing Philippine-listed firm – Manchester International Holdings Unlimited Corp – to list its management interest in Philippine casino resort City of Dreams Manila.
Late last month Universal Entertainment said it was suing a firm linked to its founder and former chairman Mr Okada via Tokyo District Court in Japan for JPY100 million (US$890,684). The reason was the alleged failure of one of Mr Okada’s privately held companies – Aruze Gaming America Inc, a maker of casino slot machines and electronic table games – to pay patent licensing fees said to be owed to Universal Entertainment.
Mr Okada was suspended and then ousted from the Universal Entertainment board in June pending an investigation into allegations of misappropriation by him of some of its funds. The same month Tiger Resort announced it had removed Mr Okada as company chairman.
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”We expect it [the first phase of casino resort Hoiana in Vietnam] to open in October, and by then basically 90 percent of the first-phase content will be launched – such as the golf course, and hotels”
Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group