• English
  • 简体中文
  • 繁體中文
  • Tiếng Việt
  • ไทย
  • Indonesia

Nasdaq-listed 26 Capital Will Seek A $2.5 Billion SPAC Transaction With A Casino in Manila

Haiden Holmes

Jun 16, 2022 10:50


Wednesday, the CEO of 26 Capital Acquisition Corp said that the company remained dedicated to its $2.5 billion acquisition of the Philippines' largest integrated casino-resort, despite a control dispute involving the present owners.

Okada Manila, a 44-hectare (108-acre) property owned by companies of Japan's Universal Entertainment Corp, decided in October to combine with 26 Capital and go public in the United States.

However, the transaction has been involved in a protracted battle between Universal and its former chairman and founder, Kazuo Okada.

This conflict took a dramatic turn on May 31, when Okada's Filipino partners, aided by private security guards and local police, gained physical possession of the $3.3 billion casino in the Philippine capital.

"I anticipate Universal will regain control of Okada Manila in the near future," Jason Ader, chairman and chief executive officer of Nasdaq-listed 26 Capital, told Reuters. Both sides want to finalize the deal.

After the Philippine Supreme Court declared in April that Okada should be reinstalled as chairman of the casino's owner and operator, the casino was seized.

Tiger Resorts, the domestic subsidiary of Universal, has challenged the verdict and what it called a "illegal and brutal" acquisition.

A U.S. listing would provide Okada Manila with access to a variety of finances, clients, and lenders, according to Ader, who added that investors believe the Philippines has the potential to become one of the world's top gaming markets.

In a statement, Vincent Lim, a spokesman for Okada Manila's current administration, denied any violent takeover and said that since Okada's return, hotel occupancy rates and casino gaming activity had increased. "His reappearance has restored and revitalized consumer and shareholder trust."

The Philippines' casino industry has begun to recover from the epidemic, with total gaming revenues increasing 14 percent to 113 billion pesos ($2.12 billion) in 2021, albeit still below the record-breaking 256 billion pesos in 2019.

In contrast, Macau, the largest gambling hotspot in the world, continues to suffer under Beijing's "zero-COVID" policy.

Okada was removed from the boards of Universal and its Philippine subsidiary in 2017 on suspicion of misappropriating corporate cash, which he denies.