MGM Mirage and Dubai World eye China

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MGM Mirage, the US-based gaming and resorts group, is in discussions with Dubai World to extend their relationship into China, according to Terry Lanni, MGM Mirage’s chairman and chief executive.

The move comes as the US company controlled by Kirk Kerkorian opens its first casino in Macao, the world’s largest gaming market, in partnership with Pansy Ho, the daughter of local gaming magnate Stanley Ho.

The $1.25bn MGM Grand Paradise, which opens today is a 50-50 joint venture and the first of two casino projects that MGM Mirage has planned in the territory.

Mr Lanni said MGM Mirage was also considering non-gaming investment in Macao and China with his company’s partners from the United Arab Emirates.

In October, Dubai World, the Dubai government holding group, completed its acquisition of a 4.8 per cent interest in MGM Mirage, for which it paid $1.2bn. The two companies are also joint venture partners in CityCenter, a $5.4bn mixed-use development project on the Las Vegas Strip.

“We have an involvement with the two largest emirates in the UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Mr Lanni said on Monday.

“Both of them have interests in – and in Dubai’s case actually owns – property here in Macao. We would hopefully be able to utilise that in some form of a joint venture with our partnership with Pansy.”

Dubai World’s interests in Macao might herald a larger push into the region by Middle East investors as they contend with a weakening dollar.

MGM Mirage also has a “definitive agreement” to develop non-gaming projects in China with Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, an arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Lanni held out the prospect of bringing his Chinese and Middle Eastern partners together on future projects.

MGM Mirage and Diaoyutai have signed agreements to develop a boutique hotel in Beijing’s central business district and another project in Tianjin.

Dubai World’s investment in the CityCenter development in Las Vegas allowed MGM Mirage to speed up development of
one of its biggest projects, a $4.5bn resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which it announced in October.

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