Universal Entertainment Group is looking to bring its Okada Manila gaming business to a US equity exchange via merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Not surprisingly, demand for that deal is strong among blank-check firms.
In a letter to JASDAQ, a Japanese securities bourse, Universal says it’s fielded multiple offers from more than one US-based SPAC to bring the Philippine gaming venue public on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The company has received several offers through our US financial advisor from more than one SPAC, at valuations of our integrated resort business in the Philippines, with the amount that is above the construction cost covered by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, which operates said business, has raised from the company and financial institutions thus far,” said Universal in the JASDAQ note.
Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada’s Tiger Resort won a gaming license in the Philippines in 2008. It rebranded the property previously known as Manila Bay Resorts as Okada Manila in 2016. The venue cost $2.27 billion to build and is one of the premier gaming destinations in the Philippines.
Okada Manila Interesting as Public Company
Dating back to last year, SPAC fever swept over Wall Street and the gaming industry is part of that trend. While announced deals cooled a bit this month, blank-check firms are still coming to market a blistering place, meaning there’s excess supply of suitors and not enough targets.
For its part, Okada Manila makes for a unique publicly traded gaming company — by SPAC or otherwise — simply because it’s a one-property entity. Among the public casino operators currently trading in the US, the smallest by number of venues is Monarch Casino & Resort (NASDAQ:MCRI), which runs two integrated resorts – one apiece in Colorado and Nevada.
Universal Entertainment previously described the Philippine casino operation as one of its core businesses, noting that its aim is to expand the enterprise and add shareholder value by way of a US listing.
For Now, Details Sparse
In the investor letter, Universal implies the construction costs will be used as a template for valuing Okada Manila. However, other details are scant, as the company does not identify any of its SPAC suitors.
There are 431 US-based blank-check companies currently searching for deals, according to SPACTrack.net. That group includes dozens that declared an intent to shop for various gaming assets, including land-based casinos.
SPAC sponsors are permitted to list multiple industries in which they could affect deals, but they are not bound by those comments.
For now, Okada Manila is proceeding with a deeper level of due diligence, with the operator adding it will “promptly provide notice of any matters requiring disclosure as they arise.”
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