THE BUZZ: Packer said to seek Las Vegas return in Oaktree Deal

Billionaire Australian casino operator James Packer is in talks to develop a Las Vegas Strip resort on land once occupied by the New Frontier Hotel & Casino, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Packer bought a piece of a loan backed by the property and is negotiating a potential deal with other creditors including Oaktree Capital Group LLC, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Oaktree purchased the debt at a discount after plans by Israeli businessmen Nochi Dankner and Yitzhak Tshuva to build a Plaza casino resort there stalled, according to the people.
A deal would mark Packer’s return to Las Vegas after losing almost USD2 billion during the credit crisis in a series of ill- timed North American casino investments, including Fontainebleau Resorts LLC and Cannery Casino Resorts LLC. Packer is the biggest shareholder in Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd., which jointly owns Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. Melco runs casinos in Macau and Packer could bring a network of Asian gamblers to the proposed venture. Bloomberg

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