|By Jim Armitage, Evening Standard, London|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 23, 2004 - Asia's biggest gambling group today swooped on Britain's casino industry with a 47 million pounds investment play centred on a major partnership with Stanley Leisure.
In a series of deals, Genting has built up a 10.2 percent stake in Stanley, bought Kensington's upmarket Maxims casino and formed a joint venture with Stanley specifically to develop the large supercasinos to be allowed under forthcoming legislation.
Genting has paid Stanley founder and chairman Lord Steinberg 36 million pounds for eight million shares in the company. Meanwhile, it is buying Maxims from Gala Casinos and selling on a 50 percent stake to Stanley for up to 6.8 million pounds. Genting will end up with a 10.2 percent stake in Stanley.
But in what could prove to be the most important part of the deal, it has struck a joint venture arrangement to take advantage of any future supercasino licences.
Stanley, which has already agreed in principle to develop a major casino at Leeds United's Elland Road stadium, is putting its land at the site into the new venture.
In return, Genting will put in 5.4 million pounds cash -- equivalent to the market value of the Elland Road property.
Genting, which takes its name from the mountain in Malaysia on which it built its first casino, already owns a 15 percent stake in casino operator London Clubs International, triggering instant speculation that it may want to consolidate the British gaming market.
Genting has always insisted the LCI stake is purely an investment, rather than a strategic holding.
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