A third offer has come in for Aquis Entertainment’s Canberra casino amounting to AUD 60 million ($41 million). The bid was submitted by Iris CC Holdings, which outbid the two offers by Capital Leisure & Entertainment Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of Oscars Group.
Iris Capital’s Offer Beats Both Offers from Capital Leisure
In May, Aquis agreed on a share purchase deal with Capital Leisure, which would see Aquis sell a 100% stake in the Casino Canberra operator Casino Canberra Ltd. The offer was for AUD 52 million (US$36 million). Subsequently, Aquis received another offer from an unknown party, which turned out to be significantly higher than the one from Capital Leisure.
As a result, Capital Leisure made a new offer amounting to AUD 58.2 million ($39.5 million), which led to a new share purchase agreement with Aquis, including a clause for a break fee of AUD 1 million ($678,500) in case Aquis accepts a higher bid. It seems like, after the proposal from Iris Capital for AUD 60 million ($41 million), this fee will be payable. The Iris Capital offer also includes a break fee of AUD 1 million ($678,500).
Aquis is currently reviewing the offer from Iris Capital and has informed its shareholders that it is going to announce its decision in a timely manner.
Why Is Aquis Selling Casino Canberra?
Aquis was in negotiations with the Government of the Australian Capital Territory (the ACT Government) regarding an upgrade of the venue worth AUD 330 million ($225.5 million). Back in 2015 Aquis made a redevelopment proposition, which, among other things, included the installation of 500 new slot machines at Casino Canberra. As per Australian legislation, the property is not licensed to offer slot machines gambling and the proposal was rejected by the ACT Government in 2018. The main reason that was stated was the discrepancy with the current regulations.
Another reason for the rejection was the unclarity surrounding the way Aquis was going to finance the said redevelopment project. After turning down the proposal, the ACT government offered Aquis to allow the company to operate 200 slot machines and 60 electronic gaming machines at the casino but the negotiations stalled and no final agreement was reached between the two parties. Consequently, Aquis has dropped its upgrade plans and is going to sell Casino Canberra to the highest bidder.
Aquis Entertainment Ltd. is a company based in Australia, which develops and operates integrated resorts with a wide variety of entertainment and leisure services such as gambling venues, bars, restaurants, live shows, and shopping.