Undaunted by the ongoing FBI probe involving Kazuo Okada and Universal Entertainment, Robinsons Land vice chairman Lance Y. Gokonwei told reporters last week that discussions between the two companies are still ongoing with the hopes of finalizing a contract that would seal the partnership between Robinsons Land and Universal’s Philippine subsidiary, Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment.
Assuming that both parties dot their i’s and cross their t’s, the contract is expected to be finalized on January 31, 2013, sealing a collaboration that would involve Robinsons acquiring a minority share in Tiger Resorts and a 60% stake in Eagle 1 Land Holdings Inc. The latter, incidentally, is the company that owns the plot of land – 30 hectares in total – where the resort casino is expected to rise. But even with the expected about a week away, there doesn’t appear to be any rush from the side of Robinsons to sign the contract with Tiger Resorts.
And as far as the ongoing case involving their business partner is concerned, Gokongwei doesn’t look like a man who is affected by the potential repercussions of doing business with Okada and Universal Entertainment. At the very least, he isn’t too worried about the involvement of the FBI in the bribery investigations, noting that all their negotiations with the Japanese company occurred well after the latter’s casino license had been granted.
So it appears that ongoing negotiations between Tiger Resorts and Robinsons Land will continue to take place regardless of how the investigations involving the Japanese tycoon plays out. Gokongwei, for one, is treating the negotiations like any sound businessman would: tuning out the noise and working on the immediate task-at-hand, which, he explains as “exploring a joint venture on the operating side” of the entire project. Should Okada be cleared of all the allegations being thrown his way, then all signs point to Manila Bay Resorts – complete with three hotels, retail and dining options, a gaming hub, and a trade hall – opening in 2015.