Jason Ader, head of United States-listed 26 Capital Acquisition Corp, has said executives at entities linked to Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp spent much of the past year “coming up with creative ways” to terminate the proposed merger between 26 Capital and the entity overseeing the Okada Manila casino resort in the Philippines, reports Bloomberg.
Mr Ader made the remarks on Monday, the first day of trial testimony for a lawsuit pitting his firm against some subsidiaries of Universal Entertainment.
It was announced in February that 26 Capital was suing Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc – the promoter of Okada Manila – and three other Universal Entertainment subsidiaries, urging the prompt consummation of a previously-announced merger between the two sides.
Universal Entertainment said last week that it had ended the deal on June 30.
When the agreement was first announced in October 2021, the transaction – via 26 Capital, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) listed on the Nasdaq stock market in the U.S. – implied an enterprise value for Okada Manila of US$2.6 billion.
According to Bloomberg’s report, Mr Ader testified Monday that Universal Entertainment began working to disrupt the transaction starting in 2022.
“We got zero cooperation” in closing the deal, Mr Ader told the court during the first day of the trial.
In his Monday testimony, he talked about the struggles to get Universal Entertainment executives to close the deal, which he said raised doubts about the Japanese conglomerate’s intentions to use their “reasonable best efforts” to finalise the transaction.
Mr Ader also said he still thinks the merger has value, and asked the judge to order officials from the Universal Entertainment side to honour the deal. “My general view is this is still a great deal,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
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