Blackstone nears $6.5bn deal to buy James Packer’s Crown casino group

Crown Resorts has agreed to enter unique takeover talks with Blackstone after the US funding agency sweetened its bid to purchase the Australian on line casino operator to about A$8.9bn (US$6.5bn). 

The revised provide values Crown at A$13.10 per share, A$0.60 extra per share, or about A$1bn in complete, from an earlier proposal Blackstone made to purchase the enterprise backed by Australian billionaire James Packer in November.

Blackstone’s newest bid adopted a number of makes an attempt to persuade the Australian firm’s board to simply accept a suggestion.

The deal highlighted world buyers’ curiosity in Australian belongings regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic. The market has been one of the energetic for mergers and acquisitions over the previous 12 months, pushed by low cost finance and personal capital concentrating on listed belongings together with telecoms operators, airports and the funds themselves. That has seen the worth of offers rise to report ranges.

Crown has been the topic of a bidding conflict since Could between Blackstone and Star Leisure Group, a smaller on line casino rival that has pursued a merger.

Star withdrew its curiosity in July when Australian authorities stated Crown may doubtlessly lose its playing licence following an investigation into cash laundering accusations. That risk was lifted in September after the investigation ended and Star expressed curiosity in reviving its A$12bn merger proposal.

Blackstone will full its due diligence within the coming days. If it decides to make a binding provide at at least A$13.10 per share, the bid shall be unanimously accepted by Crown’s board, the Australian firm stated.

“It’s the Crown Board’s present unanimous intention to suggest that shareholders vote in favour of the proposal within the absence of a superior proposal and topic to an Impartial Knowledgeable concluding (and persevering with to conclude) that the proposed transaction is in one of the best pursuits of Crown shareholders,” the corporate stated.

The deal is the newest by Blackstone within the on line casino sector, after the non-public fairness investor agreed in 2019 to accumulate the true property belongings of the Bellagio Lodge and On line casino in Las Vegas from MGM for $4.25bn. 

Blackstone, which already owns 9.99 per cent of Crown, moved to purchase the entire firm after Australian regulators dominated final 12 months that Crown was not match to function a brand new A$2.2bn on line casino resort in Sydney due to issues about cash laundering and poor company governance.

Packer, who owns greater than a 3rd of the corporate’s shares, resigned from Crown’s board in 2018, citing psychological well being points. A government-commissioned inquiry has since stated that he should stop to “remotely manoeuvre” operations for one of the best curiosity of the corporate.

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