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Archive for February 24th, 2019

Greece Opens Bidding Process for Hellinikon Casino Resort

Greek gambling regulator publishes a call for tenders for operators interested to obtain a casino license for the Hellinikon mega-resort

The bidding process for the development of a casino as part of a larger integrated resort set to be located at the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens has finally begun after years of delays. The granting of the casino concession is an essential step for the development of the whole complex.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission announced on Friday that a call for tenders has been published on the Official Journal of the European Union, inviting interested operators to submit their applications for a casino gaming license. The winning bidder will be granted a 30-year concession to operate a casino at the €8 billion Hellinikon mega-resort.

Interested operators will be able to submit their casino license bids until 11 am local time (GMT +2) on April 22, 2019. In other words, entities that are interested to operate a gaming venue at what has been dubbed as Europe’s largest integrated resort now have two months to apply for the right to do so. It is still unknown when the winning applicant will be revealed. The Hellenic Gaming Commission said that the international tender will be

“conducted on the basis of the most economically advantageous offer based on the best price-quality ratio.”

Under the terms of the 30-year concession, the preferred casino operator will have to develop a resort with a gaming floor, accommodation facility, conference center, and a number of other facilities and invest no less than €1 billion in the property.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission said in the call for tenders that applicants need to have experience in the operation of at least one casino with no fewer than 100 gaming tables and now fewer than 500 slot machines; of at least one five-star hotel with no fewer than 800 beds; and of at least one conference and exhibition center of a total area of at least 7,500 square meters or at least one public sports or cultural events meeting place with capacity of no fewer than 2,000 seats.

Each of the above needs to have been operational for at least two consecutive years in the past five years.

The casino resort will occupy a site of approximately 15,000 square meters in the area where the larger Hellinikon complex will be developed.

Minimum Equity Capital and Revenue Requirements

Applicants must have a minimum equity capital of €200 million over the last three years and annual revenue of at least €400 million for the same period. Investment companies must hold funds totaling or exceeding €400 million for the past three years, the call for tender paper reads.

The winning bidder will have to pay an upfront consideration of €30 million in two installments to the Hellinikon contractor. The first installment will represent 10% of the total consideration and will need to be paid by the concessionaire to the contractor up until the issue date of the casino license. The remaining 90% will need to be paid until the fulfillment of the conditions precedent.

Greek firm Lamda Development has been selected as the preferred developer of the larger Hellinikon resort and an international consortium of investors, including Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group, Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills and the Latsis Group, has joined forces to spearhead the mega-resort scheme.

Aside from a casino resort, the Hellinikon will also include residential areas, luxury hotels, retail areas, multiple food and beverage facilities, museums and cultural venues, family entertainment facilities, sports and recreation spaces, and many more.

Construction stage is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs, while the full resort is projected to employ more than 75,000 people and to bring at least one million international visitors.

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The post Greece Opens Bidding Process for Hellinikon Casino Resort appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Caesars’ Largest Stockholder Presses for Sale, Joining Icahn and Other Investors

Another major Caesars stockholder is pushing for the company’s sale to best serve and enhance shareholder value

Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s largest shareholder is urging the company to consider a sale, joining billionaire Carl Icahn and other investors who are pressing the gaming and hospitality giant to start a search for a buyer.

Los Angeles hedge fund Canyon Partners LLC said in a statement on Friday that its current view is that shareholder value “would be best served and enhanced by an open sale process.” The company holds nearly 70 million shares in Caesars, or more than 10%. It is the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality’s giant largest stockholder.

Caesars put its main operating unit in bankruptcy in 2015 to blunt the consequences of a $30.7 billion leveraged buyout gone wrong. The company emerged from a complex bankruptcy process in the fall of 2017 and embarked on a mission to secure better shareholder value, improved profitability, and continued growth.

The company released its full-year results for 2018 earlier this week, reporting revenue growth of 72.4% to $8.39 billion and net income of $303 million up from a loss of $368 million. The improved results were attributed to the inclusion of the results of Caesars’ main operating unit after its emergence from bankruptcy and of Centaur Holdings, which the Las Vegas powerhouse acquired last summer.

Caesars also said that in its full-year financial report that its CEO, Mark Frissora, who was due to leave his post this month, will stay at least up until the end of April. Given that many of Caesars’ investors are pressing for the company’s sale, an executive shakeup could be the last thing they want.

Icahn, Other Investors Push For Sale

News about Canyon Partners calling for the gaming and hospitality company’s sale arrive shortly after New York activist investor Carl Icahn confirmed previous reports that he has amassed a 9.78% stake in Caesars.

Mr. Icahn also said in a statement from earlier this week that Caesars’ stock is undervalued at present and that “shareholder value might be best served and enhanced by selling the company.” The Las Vegas giant said in a statement that it has engaged in discussions with the billionaire investor and that it will consider all his suggestions regarding its future.

Aside from Canyon Partners and Mr. Icahn, it also became known that Oppenheimer Funds, which owns 10 million shares, has told Caesars that it should not appoint a new CEO or board members until its management considers a sale.

Reports surfaced last summer that hedge fund HG Vora Capital Management had quietly built a 5% stake in Caesars and was pushing for a sale.

Bloomberg reported last weekend that Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta has bought a nearly 1% stake in the Las Vegas casino operator. Mr. Fertitta made an offer last fall to merge his gaming and restaurant business with Caesars and become CEO of the combined entity. Caesars rejected his offer, but the businessman is reportedly still interested in a merger.

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