A behind-the-scenes power struggle for control of one of the world’s biggest casino empires has burst into the open, revealing deep fissures in the family of ailing 89-year-old billionaire Stanley Ho.
Opposing members of Mr. Ho’s family brandished contradictory letters—purportedly signed by the patriarch—and publicly accused each other of trying to seize Mr. Ho’s controlling 18% stake in SJM Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed operator of his flagship Macau casinos. The stake is estimated to be worth $1.7 billion.
At the center of the family feud are two of the most prominent and powerful businesswomen in Asia, part of the sprawling and occasionally brawling Stanley Ho clan. Mr. Ho has acknowledged 17 children from four different women, including one who died in 2004. Mr. Ho refers to his children’s mothers as his wives, though it is unclear which—if any—of them are legally married to the gambling mogul. These four families form the core of the continuing fight.