Billionaire Stanley Ho gave up almost all his share in the parent of SJM Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest casino operator, to resolve a family dispute that led to two lawsuits and pitted some of his children against him.
Ho will only retain 0.117 percent in Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau SA, giving up 25.538 percent to family members and 6 percent to Angela Leong On Kei, SJM said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today.
The 89-year old tycoon earlier said daughters Pansy Ho and Daisy Ho and other family members seized his 31.7 percent stake in STDM, as the parent is known, forcing him to file lawsuits to reclaim his assets. SJM runs most of the casinos in Macau, where gambling revenue is more than four times that of the Las Vegas Strip.
The settlement “has no effect on the company and there will be no change in management or strategic direction of the company,” SJM said in its statement.
SJM rose 0.2 percent to HK$13.20, taking its year’s gain to 7 percent on the Hang Seng Index. STDM owns 55.69 percent of SJM, making Ho’s 31.7 percent stake worth at least HK$12.7 billion ($1.6 billion) based on today’s share price.
The privately held STDM also invests in construction, hotels and Macau’s airline. Angela Leong is a director of the Hong Kong-listed casino operator and mother of Ho’s five youngest children. The statement doesn’t name the other family members.
Ho built his fortune over five decades after Macau’s colonial government granted him and his partners a gambling monopoly in 1962. The monopoly wasn’t renewed after 2001 and Macau eventually allowed rivals, including Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts Ltd.
Ho and his family still take in more than 50 cents of every dollar bet in the Chinese enclave. The tycoon was released from the hospital in March 2010 after a seven-month stay, and he was readmitted briefly Jan. 31.