Shoppes at MBS share set at $4.9b

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s price tag of up to S$4.9 billion (US$3.5 billion) for a 49 per cent stake in Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands makes it the “most expensive mall in the world,” he says.

However, sovereign wealth funds and private-equity giants may be willing to pay a massive premium to own a stake in such a high-profile asset, says real-estate consultancy firm Chesterton Singapore MD Donald Han.

He says Singapore stacks up as one of Asia’s best property markets because its relatively strong dollar enables investors to preserve their capital.

“The property has to be assessed based on yield or the operating income from the mall, and how it stacks up against market expectations…But buildings with a certain character or iconic stature that are one of a kind are also worth a premium.”

Another selling point is that there are few quality malls on the market, and little prospect in the near term of more land being released for such large developments, says Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

Meanwhile, the proposed sale is subject to approval from the authorities, under an agreement that allowed US gaming giant and Marina Bay Sands parent Las Vegas Sands (LVS), as well as Genting Singapore, to have exclusivity in Singapore for 10 years. The agreement says LVS cannot sell any part of its 800,000 sqft (74,322 sqm) mall for that period, and then only after government approval. The 10-year duopoly, which also applies to Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa, expires next month.
Adelson says the mall sale proceeds could be used in the firm’s next investment in Japan or South Korea.

Inside Retail reported in April last year that LVS had held preliminary talks with prospective buyers for the Marina Bay Sands mall.

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