Fresh off of last week's $7.9 billion acquisition agreement with Mandalay Resort Group
Monday, MGM announced that it had struck yet another deal to expand its empire, this time setting foot in the lucrative gaming market of Macau, a former Portuguese colony just west of Hong Kong. The deal has MGM in a 50/50 partnership with Pansy Ho Chiu-king, the daughter of casino mogul Stanley Ho, to build a new casino using the MGM Grand name. MGM Mirage suggested the casino could open by late 2006 on what is being labeled the "Strip," subject to approval by the government of Macau.
Until recently, Stanley Ho had long held a gaming monopoly in Macau.
Last month, Sheldon Adelson's privately held Las Vegas Sands -- which owns The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip -- opened Sands Macau, becoming the first U.S.-based company to operate there. Wynn Resorts
The deal is significant in that it gets MGM Mirage's foot in the door. Macau is being pegged as the next Las Vegas Strip, and the deal opens the possibility of further development in Macau. In addition, MGM Mirage will have better access to high-rolling Asian gamblers who want to visit Las Vegas.
The half-billion-dollar casino project will have less of an impact on MGM Mirage's income statement following last week's megamerger, given that it will represent a smaller portion of MGM Mirage's revenues. That said, this is an important strategic development with obvious long-term benefits.
Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns none of the companies mentioned above.