Okada Manila, the Philippines integrated resort controlled by Universal Entertainment Corp., is looking to list shares in that market. Its plan to do so appears remarkably close to a previously announced effort to list the stock in New York.
Earlier this week, Asiabest Group International said it’s moving forward with an initial public offering (IPO) in Manila. That entity acts as the vessel through which the gaming entity goes public in its home market. Nearly three years ago, Japan-based Universal acquired two-thirds of Asiabest Group for the purpose of listing the gaming business in the Philippines.
The plans had just been delayed primarily because of the pandemic which has affected most, if not all industries, and more so the resort, leisure and entertainment industry,” according to Asiabest.
While an IPO date and offering size weren’t revealed, Asiabest did indicate it intends to provide the Philippine Stock Exchange with more information in the first quarter.
Similar to US SPAC Deal
In October. Okada Manila said it’s merging with Jason Ader’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) 26 Capital (NASDAQ:ADER) in a deal valuing the gaming venue at $2.6 billion.
That deal paves the way for the world’s only Japanese-owned integrated resort to list shares in the US. Ader’s firm is providing $275 million to the gaming entity. Following completion of the transaction, which is scheduled for June 2022, Okada Manila shares will debut on Nasdaq.
The US SPAC deal is similar to what Asiabest Group and Okada Manila are engineering in the Philippines. A blank-check company is serving as a vehicle for the gaming entity to become a publicly traded company.
While the Philippines equity market is significantly smaller than the US, listing Okada Manila in both markets makes sense. Listing in the US increases prestige and access to capital, while a listing in Manila is practical due to local investors’ familiarity with the integrated resort.
Okada Manila is the biggest casino in the Entertainment City area in terms of gross floor and gross gaming area. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in that district was soaring prior to the pandemic, growing 24 percent annually for the seven-year period ending 2019.
The Philippines transaction won’t impact the deal between Okada Manila and Ader’s aforementioned blank-check firm.
Asiabest was “informed by its parent companies that the plan to fold-in operations of Okada Manila still remain, and that they intend to commence commercial operations in the ensuing year and conduct the required public offering,” the shell company said in regulatory filing.
The US SPAC transaction is expected to close in June 2022. It’s also possible Okada Manila will pursue expansion opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Japan.
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