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Mining for Silver

Vegas financier invests in Macau project

Former Las Vegas Sands exec David Friedman’s Silver Point Capital has bought a 40% stake in the proposed $2 billion Studio City in Macau, which will include film and TV studios, a casino, concert hall and exhibition facilities.

He brought the stake in the special administrative region of China for $169 million from developer ESun Holdings, which has links to Lai Sun and Hong Kong production shingle Media Asia.

Silver Point could raise its stake to 50% if ESun fails to lock in a third party currently negotiating to buy a 10% stake.

Studio City is to be built in the Cotai land reclamation area next to other casinos and upscale hotels.

Plans map out at 3.65 million square feet, but gross floor area could expand to 6.6 million if the Macau authorities permit. First phase is skedded for a 2009 soft opening.

Ambrose Cheung, executive director of ESun and Lai Sun, said international hoteliers and retail operators will be invited to invest in the project and that the complex could be floated on the stock market.

Silver Point and Friedman, who holds Nevada gaming licenses, control a $5 billion investment fund.

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