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Packer, Ho in Macau casino deal

Ho has been a key figure in the Macau casino scene for decades.
Financial Markets
Casinos and Gambling
Kerry Packer

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Australia's richest man Kerry Packer and Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho have stepped up their push into Asia's casino market after taking control of casino development company Great Wonders Investments.

Under the deal, Packer's Australian-listed company Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) -- along with its joint venture partner Melco International Development Ltd -- will acquire the remaining 30 per cent of the investment company from Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM).

The joint venture will pay HK$400 million ($51.3 million) for the remaining stake in Great Wonders Investments Ltd, which will be met from the existing funds of the partnership, PBL said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The acquisition is the second investment in a joint venture with Ho's Melco International Development. In November last year, PBL paid Aust. $211 million ($166 million) for a minority stake in a hotel and casino being developed in Macau by Melco.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of shareholders of Melco.

Following shareholder approval, the acquisition will be wholly owned by the joint venture partnership.

Ho has been a key figure in the Macau casino scene for decades, but his monopoly came to an end in 2002 when three new permits were put up for offer. Ho took one of those, with the other two going to U.S. casino tycoons Sheld Adelson and Stephen Wynn.

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