Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd says its stockholders were on Friday paid the AUD13.10 (US$9.058) cash per share promised by investment firm Blackstone Inc, in order for the latter to take over the business. Crown Resorts added that as a result, the deal – known as a scheme of arrangement – had been completed.
Australian media reported on Friday that the move marked a formal end to Australian entrepreneur James Packer’s involvement with the Crown brand, which was once a partner in the Macau casino market, with the Melco brand led by Lawrence Ho Yau Lung. In comments to GGRAsia at the time of the Studio City resort opening in Macau, Mr Packer had claimed a role in their partnership getting a Macau sub-concession from Steve Wynn’s Macau gaming licence.
In its own press release on Friday, Blackstone said its Crown Resorts takeover was “the largest transaction to date for the firm in Asia Pacific”.
The news filed to the Australian Securities Exchange, comes a month after Crown Resorts’ shareholders approved the exercise.
Last week, Crown Resorts had said the Federal Court of Australia had approved the proposed AUD8.9-billion – about US$6.15-billion at current exchange rates – acquisition.
The casino group – which runs casino complexes at Crown Melbourne (pictured) in Victoria, and Crown Perth, Western Australia – announced this week it had been approved for a conditional gaming licence at its newest property, Crown Sydney, in New South Wales.
In February last year, Crown Resorts was found unsuitable for a Sydney gaming licence by the New South Wales regulator, following an inquiry into how the casino group ran its existing Australian business.
Crown Resorts also faced lengthy probity inquiries in the two other states where it operates, following allegations that its facilities may have been used for money laundering due to insufficient management oversight at those properties. It was eventually allowed to continue in those states, but with warnings it would be kept under stricter scrutiny in future.
In Friday’s release, Chris Tynan, head of real estate Australia for Blackstone, said the deal was “a great opportunity that plays to Blackstone’s strengths – investing significant capital and resources to rebuild Crown into an iconic destination for travel and leisure that everyone can be proud of.”
Steve McCann, Crown Resorts’ chief executive and managing director, was cited in the Blackstone release, as saying: “Crown has undergone immense transformation, and we know under Blackstone’s ownership, we will realise our vision to deliver world-class entertainment experiences and a safe and responsible gaming environment.”
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