SkyCity Entertainment Group, a New Zealand and Australia casino operator, says it won’t instigate talks but would consider a takeover by Aussie rival The Star Entertainment Group conditional upon the lead being taken by The Star.

Talk of SkyCity considering selling off of its Darwin casino and the company being open to a complete takeover by a rival company such as The Star was reported by Australian media last week. The Star operates namesake casinos in both Sydney and Queensland. Reports of the Darwin sale were publicly denied by SkyCity following those reports. That view was echoed by SkyCity chairman Brian Moller on Monday but investors were told that if The Star were to “come forward with a proposal then in the best interests of shareholders we will clearly consider it,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. However, Moller said that no talk or meeting had been held or arranged with The Star, which was echoed by a spokesman for The Star.

In any case, Moller insisted that the priority of the Auckland-based company is to replace Nigel Morrison after he announced last week that he’d be stepping down from his position as the company’s CEO as of April 29. Another priority is the development of new projects including its $300 million expansion of its Adelaide casino. Moller said, “At the moment we have a chief executive stepping down, we clearly have to bed in the new team, we have got a search to undertake globally and we’ve got some very significant [capital] programmes under way.”

Renovations to the riverfront casino in the railway station building in Adelaide, South Australia include premium gaming space with an allowance for international VIP players. In addition, high-end spa facilities, and an 80-room luxury hotel which will overlook the Torrens River are all part of the wider entertainment area and major casino renovation intended to boost the appeal of international tourism in the state. The company has emphasized its desire to attract an expanded share of high-value international visitors, especially from China and South-East Asia.

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