Glittering Okada Manila Casino Eyes $750M IPO Amid Record Profit Growth


The glittering casino resort of Okada Manila, nestled in the heart of the Philippine capital and overseen by Japan’s Universal Entertainment, is allegedly contemplating an initial public offering (IPO). The figure speculated for the enterprise’s worth oscillates between a hefty $500 million to an even more significant $750 million.

Universal Entertainment could, should it resolve to proceed, see shares of its casino-managing subsidiary grace the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) at some point during the forthcoming year. Confidences were shared anonymously by two sources well-versed in the situation, thus suggesting Okada Manila’s drawn interest towards the listing of its shares in its native nation. Guiding the execution of such potential plans, as proposed by the insiders, would be BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and CLSA.

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It was reported that initial intent to list towards the latter part of 2024 was shelved owing to unsteady market conditions. The delay also allowed for ongoing negotiations over Universal Entertainment’s pending task to refinance obligations amounting to $760 million due in the last month of the year.

Were Okada Manila to go ahead with a listing on the PSE, it would join the ranks of Solaire Resort and City of Dreams Manila as the third operator of a local casino to find itself listed on the bourse.

Whispers surrounding the prospective IPO of Okada Manila have begun to circulate in the wake of the company’s unsuccessful merger with special purpose acquisition company, 26 Capital. This failed alliance might have enabled the Philippine gambling outfit to list on America’s Nasdaq in New York.

A protracted legal tussle concluded last September when the Delaware Court of Chancery decreed that Okada Manila was not legally bound to continue with a merger initially agreed to in October 2021. A merger poised to value the casino giant at $2.6 million, which far surpassed the likely offering in a Manila IPO.

Billionaire entrepreneur Kazuo Okada became a significant obstacle to the merger, going so far as to launch an audacious bid to seize control of the integrated resort. Employing fifty private security guards and the Paranaque City Police force, the takeover attempt occurred in May 2022. By February the following year, 26 Capital raised litigation against Universal Entertainment and associated entities, accusing deliberate stalling of merger discussions.

Involvement of Universal’s subsidiary, Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc., adds another layer of complexity to the situation. The subsidiary currently holds a majority stake in the dormant Emerald Bay casino project in Cebu, leaving unanswered questions as to whether this paused project might factor into the Okada Manila IPO.

For Okada Manila, the time could be opportune to rekindle its IPO aspirations. The resort has proven profitable. In 2023, the establishment witnessed a 280% surge in operating revenue, accompanied by a 35.1% increase in overall revenue.

Visitor numbers continually rose throughout the year, reflecting parallel growth in all commercial categories, as per Universal’s regulatory disclosure.

Despite Okada Manila’s initial quarterly results suffering due to a retraction in VIP clientele, brighter forecasts for the Philippine casino gaming industry paint a promising picture. It’s perceived as one of the most exciting growth opportunities within the Asia-Pacific region, a notable distinction beyond Macau and Singapore.