Breaking news, folks -- all is well in the Stanley Ho household(s).
The second lawsuit the 89-year-old casino tycoon filed on February 16 naming his daughters Pansy Ho Chiu-king and Daisy Ho Chiu-fung was withdrawn five days later and now there is a truce in the family.
"All members of the Ho family have reached full and final agreement based on the principle of 'mutual understanding and mutual accommodation'," said a statement last night signed by Ho on behalf of "all members of the Ho family".
The statement continued to say "A deed settlement was executed March 8 between all branches of the Ho family. We have agreed that we shall work together and continue to develop the gambling business in Macau founded by Dr Ho and operated by the Ho family to enable it to flourish. All the Ho family members shall work together and discharge our duties to further the development of the business of [private Macau holding company] STDM and SJM Holdings with a view of achieving greater contribution to the prosperity and stability of Macau, Hong Kong and China."
Ho's fourth wife, Angela Leong On-kei refused to divulge details, but said: "Mr Ho's shares were distributed among our four families, but it's not appropriate for me to disclose the proportions... it was a mutual understanding and accommodation to make the agreement possible. The most important thing is that the structure of SJM's board of directors and the developmental direction will not be affected," she said.
SJM and STDM are the companies involved in casino operations as well as private investments and they are under the holding company Lanceford that Ho originally lost control of.
Ho's lawyer Gordon Oldham also refused to say anymore except that it was a "settlement between the four parties and Dr Ho to resolve their differences and for each to go their own way".
What's most interesting is that Hong Kong media are speculating the Central Government, ie. Beijing stepped in to mediate in the family dispute.
Whether this is true or not we'll have to see. But it could be possible since China has so much to gain from Macau -- especially those casino winnings...
In the meantime will the Ho family finally live happily ever after?