Ho open to partnering with Packer again

During an interview with CNBC’s Christine Tan, Melco Resorts chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to partner with Australian gaming mogul James Packer again should the opportunity arise.

The partnership between Melco and Crown, known at the time as Melco Crown Entertainment, ended in May 2017, with Crown exiting its position in Melco.

When asked about the split-up, Lawrence said the partnership ended on positive terms and he wouldn’t hesitate to partner with Packer again on another project.

“James and I are still very, very good friends. We consider ourselves brothers and I think it was just at a point in time where James wanted to focus on his domestic Australian assets and I wanted to continue to grow so it was very happy and amicable unlike the other gaming partnership dissolving that we see in the industry. Ours was, there was no yelling or anything it was just very happy, and to be honest with James I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to partner with him again on another project,” he said.

When asked whether the conviction of Crown Resorts employees in China had anything to do with the break-up, Ho said he didn’t know the details of what had happened, but it could have had an impact on Crown’s divestment.

“Well, it’s hard for me to say what caused his change of view on China… I don’t know the details of what had happened with his local operating teams because we ran our marketing teams separately, but it could have had an impact.”

“Melco wasn’t the only asset that he divested. He divested his Hollywood assets to really focus on bringing down debt, and focusing on his domestic assets,” he said.