Macau's Stanley Ho says family dispute resolved

By @ibtimes on

Octogenarian gaming magnate Stanley Ho, chairman of Macau's biggest casino operator SJM Holdings <0880.HK>, said he had resolved a high-profile dynastic tussle played out via a worldwide web audience since January.

The tycoon's spat with factions of his family, which includes four wives and 17 known children, has been broadcast on a global scale, with the saga of the Ho family dispute splashed across the YouTube video website.

In a statement emailed to Reuters late on Thursday, the 89-year old billionaire said he filed a note of discontinuance on February 21, dismissing a legal case against members of his second and third families, which include daughters Pansy and Daisy Ho.

A deed of settlement was executed between all branches of the Ho family, Ho wrote in a signed letter.

Earlier in January, Ho sought to sue members of his family for issuing new shares in Lanceford, the main holding company for his interest in SJM, without his consent, effectively diluting his stake to nothing.

SJM's share price has slumped on investor uncertainty, falling some 16 percent since the case erupted. The casino operator is expected to announce earnings next week.

Ho, who underwent brain surgery in 2009, had flip flopped over his position in the dispute, appearing on live television saying one thing then retracting his comments almost immediately after.

The statement issued late on Thursday made no mention of whether the shares issued by Ho's family members would be returned or if they would be allocated amongst the extended Ho clan.

Ho's gambling empire, which had a lucrative monopoly until 2002, still controls around 30 percent of the Macau market, the largest in the world having eclipsed Las Vegas in recent years.

Macau, the only Chinese territory that permits casino gambling, has been transformed in recent years from a sleepy outpost on the South China sea into a pulsating maze of neon lights.

Brunswick, the public relations firm for holding company Lanceford, was unable to comment.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by David Cowell)

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