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Okada seen acquiring holding firm for backdoor listing

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Okada seen acquiring holding firm for backdoor listing

/ 05:06 AM October 16, 2017

The group of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada is in talks to acquire holding firm Bright Kindle Resources and Investments Inc. (BKR) for the prospective backdoor-listing of its $2.4-billion integrated gaming resort business Okada Manila.

Several industry sources privy to the discussions confirmed that Okada’s local representatives were looking to buy a publicly listed company into which they could infuse the business of Okada Manila, which was managed by Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment Inc.

Tiger Resort is part of Japan-based casino resorts developer and operator Universal Entertainment Corp.  It is the third and latest integrated resort to open in Pagcor City after Bloomberry Resort Corp.’s Solaire and SM-Melco Crown group’s City of Dreams Manila. Okada’s local partner in the integrated gaming resort venture is businessman Antonio Cojuangco.

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A source close to Okada’s team said the group had looked at three publicly listed companies to take over in preparation for the backdoor-listing of the Philippine gaming business, including BKR.

Another source said Okada’s team was now veering toward BRK as a potential vehicle. Barring unforeseen events, this source is hopeful that discussions would be wrapped up in the next few weeks.

Shares of BRK have been sizzling since mid-September on speculation of the backdoor-listing of Okada’s Philippine business. Other stocks speculated to be potential Okada listing vehicles have risen as well.

An informed source said the Okada group was just preparing for the company’s eventual participation in the stock market.  Actual infusion of the gaming business into the listing vehicle could take about two years, the source added.

BKR, formerly Bankard Inc., was sold in 2013 by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. to RYM Business Management Corp. and other investors. As a result, RYM acquired 81.77 percent of the company, which ceased acting as the administrator of RCBC’s credit card business.

The company’s name was changed to its current one and its primary business purpose was changed to that of a holding company. At present, BKR holds 32.94 percent of nickel mining firm Marcventures Holdings Inc.

To recall, Bloomberry likewise entered the stock market through the backdoor in 2012, using the shell company formerly known as Active Alliance Inc. as its vehicle.  City of Dreams operator Melco Resorts also took the backdoor-listing route via Manchester International Holdings Unlimited Corp. which the group acquired in 2012. In 2014, Sinophil Corp. was transformed into Belle Corp.’s gaming investment holding firm Premium Leisure Corp., which owned half of the gaming operations of City of Dreams Manila.

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