SkyCity Entertainment Group finally has received government permission for its attempt to take full control of casinos in Christchurch and Queenstown, New Zealand. But the closure of the Christchurch property due to earthquake damage in the area may have killed the deal for now.
In November 2010, SkyCity offered NZ$246 million—about $194 million—for the stakes in the two properties owned by Skyline Enterprises. Skyline rejected that offer, and while the parties awaited permission from the Overseas Investment Office for any such deal, an earthquake caused severe damage to the Christchurch neighborhood where the casino stands.
The casino suffered some impairment but the more serious problem is that damage to surrounding buildings caused Civil Defense to cordon off the area, allowing no one access. The reopening of the casino is now being discussed, and may occur within a month.
The uncertainty appears to have given pause to SkyCity regarding any new offer.
Scott Campbell, SkyCity corporate communications manager, told the New Zealand Herald that government approval was sought for the offer to Skyline last year.
“That was subsequently rejected. There is no new offer. We’re not sure why it has taken this long for OIO to release this,” Campbell said.