he Macau casino operator is planning to raise up to us$ 1.5 billion in a Hong Kong IPO, securing us$ 190 million from cornerstone investors including billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson.
The IPO comes at a time when the world's largest gaming market is scorching hot, with Macau gambling revenues at record highs and dwarfing those of Las Vegas. January-April gaming revenue in the former Portuguese colony totaled us$ 10 billion, matching Las Vegas's total for the whole of 2010.
Pansy Ho, speaking publicly for the first time after a legal spat with her father, casino tycoon Stanley Ho, said she would maintain a strategic role in the firm, despite nearly halving her stake.
"I believe to be an MVP, most valuable player, like when you are in a ball game you do not always have to be the one making the goals, you would like to be there to be the best assistant," she said at a news conference.
Media were restricted from asking questions about investment risk if Pansy Ho were to exit the investment completely. After MGM China's listing, MGM Resorts will be the biggest shareholder with 50 percent of the Macau venture, while Pansy Ho will sell down her 50 percent stake to 26-29 percent.
MGM China is one of six casino firms allowed to operate in Macau, an hour from Hong Kong by ferry. U.S. casino billionaires Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands and Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts operate rival Macau casinos with Sands China and Wynn Macau.
MGM also competes against SJM, Stanley Ho's sprawling gaming conglomerate. Stanley Ho, and known as Macau's casino king due to his lucrative monopoly on the industry until 2002, controls around 30 percent of the market.
Melco Crown Entertainment and Galaxy Entertainment along with Sands China operate casinos on Macau's developing Cotai strip as well as on the glitzy main strip where MGM has its towering bronze, gold and silver edifice.
MGM is waiting for government approval before it can start construction on the still scaffold-ridden strip, home to the Venetian, City of Dreams and the $2 billion newly opened Galaxy Macau.
"We have been very hopeful that this (approval) obviously could happen within the year," Pansy Ho said.