Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd said in a letter to the Australian Securities Exchange that the company was “unaware of any proposal for a possible joint bid for Crown,” and that the company “has not received any such proposal from any party”.
The letter – carrying Thursday’s date and filed with ASX the same day – was signed by Michael Neilson, general counsel and company secretary for Crown Resorts.
It was in response to a letter from the ASX on Wednesday asking for more information following a jump in Crown Resorts’ share price during that day’s trading. The exchange’s letter referred specifically to Listing Rule 3.1, which requires a listed entity to give ASX “immediately” any information “a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect on the price or value of the entity’s securities”.
The spike of as much as 14 percent in Crown Resorts’ share price on Wednesday, referred to in the ASX’s letter, followed publication of a story by Bloomberg News that day. It said James Packer, an executive director of Crown Resorts, was in talks – via the Packer family-founded Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd (CPH) – to take some of Crown Resorts’ casino assets into private ownership.
According to a recent note by Credit Suisse AG, Consolidated Press Holdings has a controlling 53.1 percent stake in Crown Resorts.
Crown Resorts also filed with ASX on Thursday a letter from Michael Johnston, finance director of Consolidated Press Holdings.
It stated: “If CPH intends to pursue a buy out or privatisation of Crown Resorts Ltd, as speculated in the media, it would put forward a proposal to the Crown Resorts Ltd independent directors for their consideration,” adding CPH had “not put forward any proposal of the nature speculated”.
Mr Johnston’s letter further stated: “The fact that CPH may continue to have confidential discussions with third parties regarding CPH’s investments, including its shareholding in Crown Resorts Ltd, should not be taken as any indication that any proposal of the nature that has been the subject of the media speculation, will be made by CPH in the future.”
Crown Resorts’ stock was trading at AUD11.58 (US$8.30) on Thursday afternoon according to Bloomberg data. The price represented a 1.61 percent fall from Wednesday’s closing price.
As of August, Crown Resorts’ stake in Asian casino developer Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd stood at 34.3 percent.
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