Aladdin bidder works U.K. market also

May 6, 2003 5:37 AM

There’s no indication that one business move is connected with the other but Robert Earl, a co-founder of Planet Hollywood, is involved with the most recent bid for Aladdin Gaming while simultaneously making a move on the gaming activities of the London Clubs International.

Ironically, London Clubs International, through its then CEO Alan Goodenough, was a major investor in the Aladdin Hotel/Casino and operated a high-roller room on the Strip hotel’s top casino floor. The Aladdin investment went sour and almost caused the demise of the British-owned gaming company. Goodenough resigned because of ill health and the company began on a path of divesting itself of casinos in order to meet its debt obligations.

Recently, London Clubs announced it was selling its "Palm Beach Casino" in the Mayfair district of London to gaming rival Stanley Leisure for just over $50 million in cash. Also, it signed a sale/leaseback deal for its 50 St. James Casino.

That’s where Earle came in. As part of the 50 St. James Casino deal, London Clubs set up a 50/50 joint venture with Earl’s Celebrity Gaming Group, looking to transform the upmarket casino into a late-night entertainment venue for London’s rich and famous.

Earl’s plans for the Aladdin, should his group, OpBiz LLC, fare successfully in the bidding process for the bankrupt property calls for a $90 million makeover of the front of the facility and its transformation into a Planet Hollywood Casino and a Sheraton Hotel to be operated by partner Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.