Melco Resorts, a Hong Kong-based casino operator with properties in Macau, Philippines, and Cyprus, has awarded its founder, Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho, with restricted stock compensation valued at approximately $10 million.
Melco said in securities filings that it’s issuing the stock to its 45-year-old chairman as an incentive. Ho is receiving 484,956 shares valued at $20.68 each for a total award of a little more than $10 million.
The purpose of the aforesaid grant of Restricted Shares to Mr. Ho is for incentivizing and motivating him to strive for the future development of the Melco Resorts Group and its business,” the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailed. “The Directors consider that the terms of the grant … are fair and reasonable … and that the grant is in the interests of the Company and its shareholders as a whole.”
The SEC filing added that Ho abstained from voting on the issuance of the shares.
Ho Building Own Empire
Lawrence Ho is the oldest living son of the late Stanley Ho, who built his fortune by holding a monopoly on casino gambling in Macau for several decades. His son is making billions of his own accord, too.
After beginning his career as an investment banker, in 2001 he switched into the same business that made his father one of Macau’s richest individuals. In 2004, he partnered his Melco International with Australian billionaire James Packer and his Crown Limited to form the joint venture Melco Crown Entertainment.
Melco Crown in 2006 acquired the sixth and final casino concession in Macau for $900 million. The license allows Melco Crown to “operate an unlimited number of casinos, tables and machines in Macau until June 2022.”
Melco Crown spent billions of dollars building City of Dreams Macau and Studio City — both integrated casino resorts on the Cotai Strip. The group expanded its portfolio to the Philippines in 2012 with the $1 billion City of Dreams Manila.
After a falling out with Packer, largely because of Crown violating Chinese laws by marketing gambling to its mainland residents, Ho bought out Crown’s stake in the firm for $1.16 billion in May of 2017.
Ho renamed the business Melco Resorts. Its first major expansion under the new identify came that same year, when it won the lone casino license in Cyprus. Melco is under construction on City of Dreams Mediterranean, a $667 million development slated to open in the third quarter of 2022.
Ho was one of 28 billionaires on Forbes’ 2021 list of the world’s richest people who made their wealth through the global gaming industry.
Forbes estimates Ho’s worth at $2.4 billion, ranking him the world’s 1,299th-richest person. His worth has doubled since 2016, when Forbes listed him at $1.2 billion.
Melco says it remains interested in pursuing one of the three forthcoming integrated resort licenses in Japan. The company has been targeting Yokohama. But during the latest earnings call, Ho says he isn’t committed to the city.
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