Studio City prepping for IPO

Melco Resorts & Entertainment said its Studio City International Holdings venture is continuing to prepare for an initial public offering, which will commence as soon as market conditions permit and it receives the necessary clearance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Melco filed a draft registration statement for a proposed IPO of the joint venture that operates its Hollywood-themed Macau resort, Studio City, in August last year. The company said in an SEC filing Monday that the American Depositary Shares may not be sold, nor can offers be accepted to buy the securities, until the registration statement becomes effective. It gave no further details.

Analysts have long expected Melco to buy out its minority partner’s 40 percent stake in the venture to gain full access to the revenue stream and greater potential for operational synergies. Its partner is New Cotai Holdings. However, last year’s IPO announcement took analysts by surprise, with some sceptical that it would proceed.

The company is ramping up the entertainment offerings at the resort, introducing a new stunt show with London-based entertainment architect Stufish and Asia’s largest virtual reality zone.  

In February, the government granted Melco a three-year extension for the development of the second phase of the resort, which is expected to include another hotel and more non-gaming amenities.