James Packer to receive $3.3billion in takeover of Crown Casino by Blackstone

James Packer’s $3.3BILLION payday: Gaming mogul will pocket a fortune if he loses Crown Casino empire as his board backs takeover bid of the company he spent 20 years building

James Packer is set to pocket about $3.3billion amid the likely handover of his embattled Crown Casino empire to American private equity firm Blackstone.

The casino giant announced on Thursday it received a revised proposal from Blackstone, which Crown said its board would unanimously recommend investors accept.

Blackstone raised its bid by 60 cents per share to $13.10 per share, which equates to an $8.87 billion proposal. 

Packer, 54, is expected to support the board’s recommendation having told the Australian Financial Review’s Chanticleer column last March the offer was ‘in the best interests of Crown shareholders’. 

Mr Packer, who owns 37 per cent of Crown, has been looking to offload his stake in the gaming and entertainment company he’s spent 20 years building.

James Packer is set to pocket $3.3billion as he hands over his embattled Crown casino empire to American private equity firm Blackstone

His Consolidated Press Holdings business said it was ‘encouraged’ by Thursday’s announcement.   

‘CPH will review all documents released to the market by Crown Resorts relating to a binding control transaction prior to making a decision regarding its shareholding,’ the CPH statement said.

‘The assets of Crown Resorts are world-class and this is reflected in the significant interest in the company.’

Crown’s chairman Ziggy Switkowski and chief executive Steve McCann have however left room for other offers. 

An auction could push up the takeover price while bids from other private equity firms could put more pressure on Blackstone. 

A takeover deal from Blackstone would require a shareholder vote with 75 per cent support from Crown board members.

Mr Packer owns 37 per cent of Crown has been looking to offload his stake in the gaming and entertainment company he's spent 20 years building (pictured Crown Sydney Tower in Barangaroo)

Mr Packer owns 37 per cent of Crown has been looking to offload his stake in the gaming and entertainment company he’s spent 20 years building (pictured Crown Sydney Tower in Barangaroo)

Crown shares jumped as much as 9% to A$12.68 on Thursday morning, their highest price since June 4. 

Blackstone first approached the embattled casino group in March last year with an offer of $11.85 per share that was rebuffed, along with another bid, for being too low.

In May, rival Sydney Casino operator Star Entertainment Group, which owns Star Casino, proposed a $12 billion merger between the two ASX listed companies. 

The Star scrapped its proposal in July after Crown was grilled by royal commissions.

But Star Entertainment boss Matt Bekier indicated there could be an opportunity for a second run after its casino became the subject of an inquiry for similar breaches.

Crown has also had a troubled run in NSW after a public inquiry found it facilitated money laundering and had the gaming license for its brand new resort and casino Barangaroo suspended in late 2020.

Commissioner Patricia Bergin in February recommended a number of drastic changes that Crown would have to make before it could run the casino.

Ms Bergin’s report to the Liquor and Gaming NSW found Crown subsidiaries were used to launder money and the company’s conduct facilitated money laundering for at least five years. 

Numerous recommendations were made, including a forensic probe to make sure all money-laundering in Crown accounts was uncovered.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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