Oceania

Blackstone Nears $6.3bn Crown Bid After Regulators’ Approval

 

Gambling regulators in Australia have approved private equity firm Blackstone’s bid to run the casinos of Crown Resorts in the country’s two largest cities, a key step in its $6.3 billion buyout.

Crown Resorts, 37% owned by billionaire James Packer, has been under pressure for years since inquiries found it enabled money laundering, while Covid-19 lockdowns and border closures battered its profit and shares.

Crown has since backed Blackstone’s buyout offer as a way for investors to exit what has become a volatile investment, while analysts have said the sheen of new ownership might speed up efforts to show regulators it has overhauled its governance.

The new approvals, though widely expected, remove concern of the buyout facing more regulatory headaches in Crown’s two main markets.

Already Crown’s A$2.2 billion ($1.58 billion) Sydney casino has been banned from taking bets since opening in 2020, while its Melbourne resort is under government supervision.

Regulators in Perth, where Crown operates its third casino, which is also under state supervision, have not made a decision about Blackstone.

In a statement, Crown said only that Blackstone received two regulator approvals and was awaiting a third. Blackstone declined to comment.

ALSO SEE: Korean Police Launch Probe Into Stablecoin Crash – FT

 

 

More Regulatory Headaches

Crown’s share price rose nearly 2% to A$12.99 in Thursday morning trade, against a 1% decline in the broader market. It is hovering just below Blackstone’s A$13.10 offer, signalling growing expectation of the buyout going ahead.

“These approvals are a key step … to ensure Crown Sydney is able to fully meet its undertakings for major operational, governance and structural reforms,” said Philip Crawford, chair of the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority, which has suspended Crown’s Sydney gambling licence.

“Blackstone has been required to demonstrate the highest standards of probity,” he said in a statement.

“This commitment is vital to ensure Crown Sydney is free from criminal influence and properly manages the risks of harm associated with casino activities,” Crawford said.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, which oversees the Melbourne casino, said in a statement its approval included the condition that a privately owned Crown continued to follow stock exchange governance rules.

Crown shareholders have endorsed the takeover but the deal must be approved by the federal court, which will not set a hearing date until Perth’s regulator greenlights Blackstone.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean OMeara

 

 

ALSO READ:

 

Crown Resorts Loss Widens as Regulatory, Covid Costs Weigh

 

Australia’s Crown Resorts Accepts $6.3bn Offer from Blackstone

 

Second regulator to question Crown Resorts fitness to run casino

 

 

Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

Recent Posts

Didi EV Joint Venture With Li Auto Files For Bankruptcy

Beijing Judian Chuxing Technology was just one of a series of partnerships ride-hailer Didi struck…

60 mins ago

HSBC Accused of Overstating Risks of Asia Unit Break-Off

A source close to the Chinese insurer, which pushed for the Asia business spin-off, say…

2 hours ago

US Reassessing China Tariffs After Harsh Taiwan Response

Biden's team is divided on whether to drop or expand tariffs imposed by Trump on…

5 hours ago

Asia Stocks Rally as US Inflation Eases Rate Hikes Fears

Asian shares pushed higher on Thursday as investors bet on the pace of interest rate…

6 hours ago

China Leads the US on Scientific Research Papers – Guardian

Chinese scientific research accounts for almost a quarter of the world's output, the report said,…

6 hours ago

Bangladesh Minister Warns on China’s Belt and Road Loans – FT

Developing countries should think twice before taking loans via China's Belt and Road scheme given…

7 hours ago