Over the last several years, Blackstone Group Inc., has been acquiring Las Vegas casinos. Now, the New York-based investment group is looking to purchase one of Australia’s largest casinos.
According to a report from MarketWatch, Blackstone is trying to purchase Crown Resorts Ltd., owner of the Crown Casino in Sydney and home of the Aussie Millions, the largest poker series in the country.
The group already owns 10% of the company and offered to buyout the remaining shareholders for the equivalent of $9.15 per share, which is a 20% premium on the market price of the company and gives it a total valuation of $6 billion. Crown confirmed the proposal was submitted, but a decision has not been made yet.
The move comes as the company is in hot water with Australian gaming regulators over money laundering charges. The casino went under review in December and just a few months later, some regulators were saying that the company was unfit to hold a gaming license after it was revealed that the casino was facilitating money laundering for Chinese high rollers.
A sale of the company to Blackstone would likely relieve the problems and allow the casino to keep its gaming license.
In 2015, Blackstone bought the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas for $1.73 billion, which started the group’s foray into the Las Vegas casino industry. They were exploring a possible sale of the property in 2019 for $4 billion, but it never materialized.
Later in 2019, Blackstone bought Bellagio from MGM Resorts for $4.25 billion. It purchased the real estate and opted to lease the property to MGM, letting the casino company continue to run the day-to-day operations.
At the start of 2020, it made nearly identical deals with the same company, buying Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand for a combined $4.6 billion.
Given the regulatory problems Crown is currently facing, it seems unlikely that this deal would mirror the deals made with MGM and would be an outright purchase of the entire operation like Blackstone did with the Cosmopolitan.