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October 18, 2018

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Australian businessman weighing CityCenter investment

Cosmopolitan/CityCenter (6-3-2009)

The CityCenter project on the Las Vegas Strip. Launch slideshow »

Australian billionaire and casino magnate James Packer is considering an investment in CityCenter, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Packer's casino company, Crown Ltd. Of Australia, owns a 19.6 percent stake in the Fontainebleau resort under construction in Las Vegas and recently canceled a planned purchase of Cannery Casino Resorts of Las Vegas for $1.8 billion in exchange for the option to buy the company in pieces over time.

Wednesday, sources confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that Colony Capital – another deep-pocket casino investor with Las Vegas gaming assets – had expressed interest in a CityCenter stake.

CityCenter partners MGM Mirage and Dubai World say it's in their economic interest to finish the project, which is supposed to open in stages later this year. But MGM Mirage is at risk of filing for bankruptcy protection, which could trigger a bankruptcy filing by the CityCenter joint venture by jeopardizing MGM's ability to continue funding for CityCenter.

And Dubai World is suing MGM Mirage, claiming MGM mismanaged CityCenter, which led to cost overruns. Dubai World refused to pay its half of a $200 million CityCenter payment due last month, forcing MGM to make Dubai World's payment.

MGM shares rose more than 48 percent today to $4.65 per share, rising further in after-hours trading.

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