Several sources have informed IAG that integrated resort The Grand Ho Tram in Vietnam has been targeted for acquisition by American private equity firm Warburg Pincus, LLC.
Warburg Pincus has been a private equity investor since 1966 and has investments of approximately US$40 billion in retail, industrial manufacturing, energy, financial services, health care, technology, media and real estate. It has offices in the US and China.
Phase 1 of Ho Tram, located on the southeast coast of Vietnam around two hours by car from Ho Chi Minh City, cost around US$600 million to complete and features a 541-room hotel, a casino with space for 90 tables and a Greg Norman-designed golf course. A second hotel under construction will bring the total key count to 1,100, with developer Ho Tram Project Co stating recently that it had deployed and forward-deployed capital of US$1.1 billion.
The Grand Ho Tram has long sought a change to Vietnamese law to allow local Vietnamese to gamble in its casino, but to date has been unable to do so. Vietnam’s first three-year pilot program for locals gaming was instead awarded to Corona Resort and Casino in Phú Quốc, which is the only casino currently allowed to accept local Vietnamese, under certain qualifying conditions. A casino resort currently being developed at Van Don in northern Vietnam will reportedly become the second.
The Grand Ho Tram’s parent company is Asian Coast Development Ltd (ACDL), whose directors as listed on its website include Philip Falcone, Chien Lee and Anthony Podesta.
Philip Falcone is founder of Harbinger Capital, a New-York based hedge fund. Chien Lee is the founder, Chairman and CEO of NewCity Capital and the Chairman and largest shareholder of Barnsley Football Club in the UK. Anthony Poedsta is a Democratic lobbyist and Founder and Chairman of the now-defunct Podesta Group.
IAG contacted both Warburg Pincus and Harbinger Capital for comment but had not received a reply from either by the time of publication.