Melco snaps up majority stake in MCE

    Melco International Development Ltd. has acquired an additional US$1.1 billion worth of shares in Melco Crown Entertainment (MCE) in an effort to open up more opportunities in Asia and Macau.

    The share purchase of an additional 198 million ordinary shares brings the company to a 51.3 percent stake in MCE, compared to 37.9 percent before.

    In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday, Melco says it immediately paid a deposit of US$100 million upon signing the acquisition agreement, and also obtained a credit facility of up to US$1 billion to support the purchase.

    Lawrence Ho, group chairman and CEO of Melco said, “I am thrilled to announce today that Melco has assumed majority ownership of MCE. It is certainly another tremendous milestone for the Company… The acquisition signifies my faith in Macau’s long term prospects and the strength and quality of MCE. The deal will enable both Melco and MCE to more effectively capture growth opportunities in Macau, Asia and around the world.”

    Australia-listed Crown Resorts, in a separate filing, noted its ownership interest in MCE is now 11.2 percent.