Kerzner rejects Brunei bid

City A.M. Reporter
Brunei investment firm BMB Group yesterday said that it had made an unsolicited $3.4bn (£2.12bn) cash bid to buy Kerzner International Holdings, saying the luxury resorts operator has significant potential in Asia.

Kerzner, which owns the Atlantis and One & Only Ocean resorts on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, hired private equity firm Blackstone Group in June to help address the restructuring of about $3.2bn in debt. The company rejected the Brunei advance.

BMB, an investment and advisory firm backed by the Brunei royal family and a shareholder in Kerzner, said it was “highly supportive” of the company’s newest Atlantis resort in Dubai. However, it said it was unlikely to retain long-term ownership of Kerzner’s casinos.

Kerzner is owned by a consortium of investors led by its chief executive officer, Sol Kerzner, who took the company private in 2006.

Representatives for BMB, Kerzner, Blackstone could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kerzner International’s operating income fell by 15 per cent last year on a drop in tourism stemming from the global financial crisis.

BMB said it had built a multibillion-dollar real estate business through the acquisition of Contrarian Capital Partners and Alliance Capital Group, which have assets of more than $4.5bn.

The bid was made by its BMB Advisors Malaysia Ltd subsidiary.