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Melco Crown to Buy Philippines Company as Project Vehicle

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., a casino venture between billionaire James Packer and a son of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, will buy a Philippines-listed company as a vehicle for its operations there.

Melco Crown, which now has most of its assets in the Chinese city of Macau, will pay 1.26 billion pesos ($30.8 million) for a 93.1 percent stake in Manchester International Holdings Unlimited Corp., according to a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing yesterday.

Melco Crown, based in Hong Kong, said it will sell Manchester’s operating units back to the existing shareholders, and will use the target company to manage and operate its Philippine operations, including the previously announced casino, hotel, retail and entertainment project.

The American depositary receipts of Melco Crown gained 3.7 percent to $15.35 at 10:42 a.m. in New York on Dec. 7, after rising as much as 4.1 percent following the announcement. Each ADR represents three underlying common shares.

The company plans to invest $600 million prior to opening in the Philippine project, which it will build in a joint venture with local companies SM Investments Corp., Belle Corp. and PremiumLeisure & Amusement Inc., according to an Oct. 25 filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joshua Fellman in New York at jfellman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net; Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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