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Saga Is HO-VER: Stanley Ho Admits to Transfer of Stake in Casino Empire

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Jan/26/2011
Stanley Ho

The 89-year-old Macau casino magnate and Hong Kong’s 13th-richest man Stanley Ho has admitted to transferring his stake to family members as a means of ending infighting among siblings and his third wife.

The billionaire tycoon once ran a monopoly in what is now the largest gambling destination in the world.

Following news of the stake transfer on Monday, an attorney for Ho said his client did not give consent for the transfer.  By Wednesday, Stanley Ho admitted otherwise.

The stake in his gambling empire, STDM, may be worth at least $1.63 billion using today’s stock price of unit SJM Holdings Ltd. STDM owns 56 percent of Hong Kong-listed SJM, which has a market value of $9.2 billion.

“The big problem has been resolved,” Ho, 89, said in an interview broadcast today by Television Broadcasts Ltd. “My families and I are very happy we have made the decision.”

He added: “I have been really unhappy recently because of the disputes, my family members were unhappy as well.  I love my families very much.”

Following the broadcast, Ho dismissed the attorney who spoke on his behalf on Tuesday. 

The company stock plummeted amidst Tuesday’s conflicting reports. SJM closed at HK$13.12, down 4.9 percent.

“It seems like it’s drawing to a close but there’s always a chance that something else will pop up,” said Aaron Fischer, a Hong Kong-based analyst for CLSA Ltd., who recommends buying the stock, in an interview with Bloomberg. “We still maintain a positive view because we think the management of the company will remain in place.”

A 7.7 percent stake in SJM was transferred to Ho’s third wife, Angela Leong.

One of her children, Angela Ho, told Bloomberg News via an email correspondence: “I cannot believe that my father would leave my mother’s family with nothing at all.  Her connections in Portugal and standing in Macau society was a big factor for my father winning the gambling monopoly.”

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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