SkyCity and Macquarie Reach Settlement Agreement Regarding Unsuccessful Parking Garage Deal

Posted on: December 12, 2023, 06:51h. 

Last updated on: December 12, 2023, 06:51h.

New Zealand-based casino operator SkyCity Entertainment is on its way to resolving one of its legal disputes. The company has reached an agreement with Australia’s Macquarie Group regarding a failed deal concerning the management of the New Zealand International Convention Centre parking garage.

The exterior of SkyCity's Auckland casino
The exterior of SkyCity’s Auckland casino. The casino operator has reached a settlement with Macquarie over a failed agreement to manage its parking garage. (Image: Getty Images)

In a resolution of one of several legal disputes, SkyCity and Macquarie have settled their disagreements. SkyCity announced on Monday that it will pay more to Macquarie than expected, but not as much as the maximum amount it could have paid.

The two parties have reached an agreement on compensation, effectively ending the prolonged legal battle. The agreed-upon amount of $204 million (US$125.42 million) serves as a compromise between Macquarie’s initial demand and SkyCity’s contested liability.

The Complex Legal Dispute

The disagreement began in early 2019 when SkyCity initially agreed to hand over control of the parking facilities to Macquarie. However, a major fire later that year significantly affected the trajectory of the Convention Centre, leading SkyCity to realize it could not fulfill its end of the agreement. Macquarie then invoked contract language seeking an exit from the deal and a payment of NZD240 million (US$147.55 million) for what it considered a breach of contract. SkyCity contested Macquarie’s claim, arguing that its liability was limited to $188 million (US$115.58 million). The casino operator took the matter to court, presenting its case to the High Court of New Zealand, which recently issued a ruling partially favoring SkyCity’s position and setting the stage for further negotiations.

Horizon Hotel Progress

Four years after the 2019 fire caused severe damage, SkyCity is still focused on repairing the Convention Centre property. Plans are underway to open a hotel, the Horizon Hotel, next year, illustrating the company’s commitment to moving forward.

SkyCity had initially planned to inaugurate the hotel in 2021, but the fire damage caused several delays. It is now set to open in March next year, according to its website.

CEO Michael Ahearne announced his resignation in October after three and a half years at the company’s helm. The exit coincides with various challenges SkyCity is currently facing, including the risk of losing its gaming license in New Zealand and investigations into possible violations of anti-money laundering regulations at SkyCity Adelaide in Australia.

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