ynn Macau’s chairman and chief executive, Steve Wynn, says this was the technique open to the gaming operator to enter Cotai. The explanation is given in an interview published in this month’s issue of Macau Business. “I came to Cotai late,” Wynn says. “In early 2006, I started asking, as a concessionaire, for consideration to acquire land in Cotai for future use”.
At the same time, Wynn staff also began looking for sites that had been committed but were not yet developed. It was then the company came into contact with Tien Chiao’s lot. The land had already been “committed [by the government] to some people from Beijing, for a Taiwan House,” Wynn says. He said the project had been given a commitment of 10.9 hectares and was intended to foster relationships between both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Eventually, a deal was reached: Wynn would pay Tien Chiao us$ 35 million and give the company a 12-percent stake in its Cotai property. Tien Chiao would keep 2 hectares to build the Taiwan House on. “As time went by, they [Tien Chiao officials] were more and more anxious about when I’d get started in Cotai,” Wynn says.
Wynn says that gave him an opportunity to buy out Tien Chiao by paying us$ 50 million. Later, Wynn was able to get a government commitment to expand the lot to 21 hectares. He dismisses rumours about connections between Tien Chiao and any government officials. “We vetted the people in the group.”