Universal to take Okada Manila operating entity public with United States listing

Japan’s Universal Entertainment Group has revealed plans to list its Philippines-based integrated resort business in the United States in 2021 on either NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange.

Under the plan, Universal will list the business by use of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) – a company formed specifically to merge with or acquire another company with the goal of going public. The back-door method is said to allow investors, both large and small, an opportunity to get in early while providing a range of important protections.

Universal’s integrated resort business is solely comprised of Okada Manila, operated by wholly-owned Universal subsidiary Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI). The company had previously touted taking TRLEI public as far back as 2018 although it made no mention of the United States at the time.

Noting that it has put a series of cost savings in place at Okada Manila that it expects will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Universal said Friday the time was right to revisit the listing of its IR business.

“In view of this situation, [and] having positioned its IR Business as the core business of the Company Group, the Company recently arrived at the decision to pursue a detailed examination of the listing of that business on either the US NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange with the aim of realizing the further expansion of that business and greater corporate group value,” it said.

“The Company has already executed advisory agreements with multiple financial advisory firms in Japan and the US in order to prepare for the listing of its IR Business … and is currently engaged in the selection of a SPAC, the investigation of aspects involving the law and tax systems, the revision of the capital structure of the Company Group as a whole, with the aim of listing the business sometime in fiscal 2021.”

In a separate announcement on Friday in which Universal outlined its FY2020 financial results, the company revealed that cost savings at Okada Manila during the year included a 20% reduction in personnel to around 1,500.

(Photo: Okada Manila)

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