Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has approved Aquis Reef Holdings (Aus) Pty Ltd’s proposed takeover of the Reef Casino Trust. The final hurdle is now approval from the Queensland and Canberra regional governments.
The FIRB said in a statement it had no objections to the proposed acquisition of Reef Casino Trust by Aquis.
“This approval now means all necessary approvals have been obtained from the federal government authorities,” Reef Casino Trust said in a filing to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Aquis wants to acquire Reef Casino Trust, which owns Queensland’s Reef Hotel Casino (pictured), for AUD216.86 million (US$203.20 million).
Aquis, which is also seeking approval to build a AUD8.15-billion casino resort in Queensland, dubbed Aquis Resort, is wholly owned by Tony Fung, former chairman of Hong Kong-based financial services company Sun Hung Kai and Co Ltd.
Reef Casino Trust also owns Casino Canberra, in Australia’s capital city.
After initial concerns about Mr Fung’s potential ownership of two casinos in Queensland, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last month said it was satisfied that would not amount to a monopoly of the market. The competition watchdog said the proposed acquisition “was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market”.
Aquis has said the purchase of the Reef Hotel Casino is an important part in its development plan for the Aquis integrated resort. “The Reef will provide a strong branding and operational platform ahead of the planned opening of Aquis in 2019,” it said in a statement.
The Reef Casino Trust acquisition still awaits approval from the Queensland government’s Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation and from the Canberra regulators for it to proceed to completion.
“Reef Casino Trust will continue to work with Aquis to seek to obtain such approval as soon as possible,” the company said in Friday’s filing.
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