US company acquires Darwin’s SKYCITY Casino for $188m

US-based global hospitality company Delaware North has acquired Darwin’s SKYCITY Casino for $188 million following approval by the Northern Territory Government.

The sale does not include Little Mindil property located adjacent to the SKYCITY Darwin site, which is to be sold separately.

“We are pleased that the sale of SKYCITY Darwin is now unconditional,” said SKYCITY Darwin CEO Graeme Stephens.

“The sale is consistent with our strategy to sell certain non-core assets and to allocate capital to assets and businesses which we feel are better aligned with our long-term strategic objectives.”

In a previous statement made November, Stephens said he was happy Delaware North has emerged as the successful bidder.

“They are a highly respected and well-established hospitality and gaming company and I’m very comfortable handing over the business we have built up over the past 14 years to an operator of this calibre,” he said.

“Selling was not an easy decision. We’re proud of our contribution to Darwin and the Northern Territory over the past 14 years. Since we purchased the business in 2004 we’ve developed Darwin’s casino into an integrated entertainment destination, refurbishing the resort, adding new restaurants, bars and VIP facilities, a new 5-star resort hotel and supporting various community events.

“So now feels like the right time to hand the baton across to a new owner to continue the next stage in Darwin casino’s journey.”

Lou Jacobs, co-CEO of Delaware North, said Australia has been a second home for Delaware North for 30 years.

“We are thrilled to have grown our business into a diversity of operations across the country, which has been possible because of our incredibly talented and diverse workforce of more than 10,000 people,” he said.

“With SKYCITY Darwin, we are expanding our presence in the gaming and entertainment market. We look forward to working with SKYCITY Entertainment Group to welcome their employees at SKYCITY Darwin to the Delaware North family.”

SKYCITY will maintain the ongoing use of the casino’s VIP facilities for at least the next two years (subject to availability) and the company also retains the rights to operate an online casino in partnership with Delaware North should a licence be granted in the future.

All the company’s 650 staff will be retained once the change of ownership takes effect on April 4.

Stephens said the sale was consistent with its “capital lighter” strategy to sell non-core assets.

“It also allows us to concentrate our Australian activities in Adelaide, which is undergoing a $330m expansion, due for completion in late 2020,” he said.