American investment fund Blackstone has made a bid to acquire Australian gaming operator Crown Resorts, the gaming company revealed in a recent announcement.
According to Crown, Blackstone made ‘an unsolicited, non-binding and indicative proposal’ to purchase all of Crown’s shares at an indicative price of A$11.85 cash per share, a premium 19 per cent higher than the volume-weighted average price of the company’s shares since the release of its latest financial report.
The proposal would value Crown at some A$8.02 billion (US$6.2 billion).
Crown indicated that the bid’s approval is still subject to several factors including, due diligence; arranging debt finance and regulatory confirmation that a Blackstone-owned Crown is considered a suitable person to continue to own and operate the Sydney, Melbourne & Perth licences and other gaming-related approvals as required.
Blackstone currently has a shareholding of 9.99 per cent in Crown which it acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited for A$8.15 per share in April 2020, about US$360 million.
At the time, Blackstone’s purchase made the private equity investor the second-largest holder in Crown after the company’s billionaire founder James Packer, and marked Melco’s exit after a halted bid to acquire almost 20 per cent in the Australian group.
Crown has been the target of a year-long regulatory probe by Australian authorities over perceived deficiencies in anti-money laundering procedures connected to its links to junket operators, leading to the loss of its gambling licence for its new A$2.2 billion Sydney casino last month.
Blackstone has acquired the Bellagio in Las Vegas for US$4.25 billion, and also owns a casino resort called “The Cosmopolitan” in Las Vegas and Spanish gaming hall operator Cirsa.