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Sky City Buys Christchurch Casino Stake

5 Apr 2004

NEW ZEALAND – As reported by the New Zealand Stuff: "Casino operator Sky City Entertainment said today it had conditionally bought Aspinall's 41 per cent stake in the Christchurch Casino for $93.8 million (US$60.96 million).

"The casino has been the subject of a high stakes game over its control with chairman Barry Thomas, representing 41 per cent owner Skyline, saying last week he was 'implacably opposed to Sky City taking control'.

"…The shares in Aspinall (NZ) Limited are currently held by interests associated with the late British tycoon John Aspinall and Australian billionaire Kerry Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings (Australia).

"The purchase is conditional on, among other things, Overseas Investment Commission, Casino Control Authority, and Commerce Commission approvals. These approvals are expected to take approximately 6-8 weeks to conclude, Sky said.

"The Commerce Commission is likely to look closely at any move by Sky City, which already has substantial casino interests in New Zealand, including in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown.

"…The Christchurch casino, which opened in November 1994, operates 500 gaming machines, 45 gaming tables, two restaurants and three bars…"

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