Osaka mayor warns MGM against “high-handed” IR bid

Defending himself against media questions regarding Osaka’s potential loss of leverage against the MGM Japan-Orix bid in a context in which they are now the only IR consortium bidder, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui insisted that he was still willing to refuse their offer if it isn’t at an acceptable level.

“If they try to take advantage of us and produce a high-handed bid, we will opt not to partner with MGM, and it may be necessary to open the recruitment process once again,” the mayor insisted.

Many observers will find it difficult to take Matsui’s threat seriously, but because of Osaka’s strong desire to become the first major market IR to open its doors and because most of the other major IR operators have already announced that they are no longer interested in the Yumeshima location.

The lack of a competitor to the MGM-Orix bid necessarily reduces the Osaka government’s leverage in negotiations.

The formal decision on an IR operator partner is expected in June.