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Casino Venture Melco Files for U.S. IPO

Melco PBL Entertainment, the casino joint venture between Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting and Hong Kong-based Melco International Development, said it has filed a registration for its U.S. initial public offering.

The joint venture, which focuses on developing casinos and resorts in Macau, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to float 53 million American Depositary Shares on the Nasdaq, the company said in a statement.

The underwriters have the option to buy another 7.95 million shares at the IPO price from Melco PBL to cover over-allotment, the statement said.

The joint venture has hired Credit Suisse Group, Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG to manage the Nasdaq listing, it said.

Melco PBL, which will open its first casino hotel Crown Macau in April 2007, won approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to list on the Nasdaq late October.

It is expected to become a major casino operator in Macau _ the only place in China that allows casino gambling _ when it opens its second project, the City of Dreams mega-resort, in mid-2008.

The company currently operates a chain of slot-machine parlors in the booming Chinese territory. It is planning a third casino project on Macau peninsula.