Blue Whale Entertainment, headed by one of Australia's biggest hotel owners, Michael Gu, has agreed to pay up to $32 million to buy a majority share in Aquis Canberra Holdings (ACH).
This will result in Blue Whale taking over the $330 million redevelopment plans for Casino Canberra. Plans for the area include a resort-style casino with dining and retail options. ACH believes that the new casino will attract high end gamblers and entertainment seekers from all over Australia and abroad. The acquisition deal also allows Blue Whale to move from the 87% shares it will now obtain to become the outright 100% owner.
Interest in Casino Canberra
Blue Whale already has significant interest in the Canberra area, and its acquisition of Aquis makes a lot of business sense. Blue Whale has a stake in SB&G Australia Fund, owners of the Crowne Plaza Hotel which stands adjacent to the current casino in Canberra. The group also has stakes in the developing $50 million Holiday Inn Express project.
"With IPG's wealth of experience in hotels, we believe this acquisition presents a unique opportunity to release a largely untapped market and provide Canberra with more world class experiences," said Gu in a statement this week.
"We have plans to upgrade the casino, adding new world class restaurants and premium gaming facilities."
Investing in Australia's Hotel Industry
Michael Gu and his main company iProsperity continue to invest heavily in Australia's hotel industry. In September 2018, the company bought the five-star Pullman on the Park property in what The Australian called "one of the biggest hotel deals of the year".
In 2016, the group purchased the 27 Park Street hotel in Sydney's CBD at a price of $46 million. In 2018, iProsperity sold the property for an $8 million profit.