Published: September 13, 2020

Ex-MGM China boss Murren eyes online gaming deals: report

Gaming-sector veteran Jim Murren (pictured in a file photo), is reportedly pursuing new business opportunities in online gaming and entertainment, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday.

Until March this year, Mr Murren was chairman and chief executive of United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International, which is the parent of Macau casino licensee MGM China Holdings Ltd.

At the latter firm, he had been designated chairperson and an executive director, but has now also relinquished those posts. He also had a leading role in acquiring qualified-applicant status for MGM Resorts, in its pursuit of a land-based casino licence in Osaka, Japan.

According to Bloomberg, Mr Murren is eyeing online-gaming business deals that might involve either alliance with institutional investors, or buying a small company and building a bigger one through acquisitions.

One possible route is via an initial public offering for a new special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, which might happen in coming months, Bloomberg reported, citing a person said to have knowledge of the matter, but who asked not to be identified.

Mr Murren is reported to have linked with former Morgan Stanley bankers Edward King and Daniel Fetters.

Bloomberg said the three men were evaluating the possibility of raising U$300 million or more via the SPAC route, and had held preliminary talks with potential underwriters.

It had been announced in mid-February that Mr Murren would step down from his leadership position at MGM Resorts, prior to the expiration of his contract, which was due to run until the end of 2021.

Mr Murren told Bloomberg that he did not foresee any conflict between his possible new venture, and MGM Resorts, as a non-compete agreement he has with with that group, expires in March.

Andrew Pascal, a former Wynn Resorts Ltd executive – who is also said to be a nephew of Elaine Wynn, a significant stockholder in Wynn Resorts – has held talks to join Mr Murren and his associates, but Mr Pascal’s involvement has not been finalised and might not happen, said Bloomberg. Wynn Resorts is parent of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd.

The Bloomberg report did not mention what online products and consumer markets Mr Murren and his associates might be examining regarding investment.

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