Blackstone’s acquisition of Crown Resorts cleared by Australian court

BX by Blackstone Inc.,
$6.07 billion acquisition of Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd. cwn,
was approved by the country’s federal court, clearing the final regulatory hurdle.

Casino operator Crown said on Wednesday it expects to submit the court’s orders to the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission by the end of the day. Shares listed on the ASX will be suspended at the close of trading on Wednesday, she added.

The US private equity giant agreed in February to pay A$13.10 (US$9.00) per share in cash for Crown. The stock was last up 0.15% to $13.07.

Blackstone will add Crown to its real estate assets in Australia and its gaming businesses elsewhere. It first offered to buy Crown in 2021 for A$11.85 per share and has increased its bid several times.

Last week, casino regulators in the three Australian states where Crown operates approved the acquisition.

Crown said it expects the acquisition to go ahead on June 24.

The acquisition ends Crown’s long association with billionaire James Packer, who through his investment company Consolidated Press Holdings Pty. Ltd controls nearly 37% of Crown’s shares.

Crown has been regularly embroiled in controversy since 2016, when its employees in China were arrested for gambling-related crimes. The company has scaled back its international ambitions despite being the subject of regulatory scrutiny over its domestic operations.

The opening of the new Crown casino in Sydney in 2020 was delayed after an investigation in the state of New South Wales found that the company’s bank accounts were used for money laundering and that it was improperly working with so-called junket operators in Asia to attract players .

A separate investigation in the state of Victoria found that Crown was involved in illegal and dishonest conduct. The commission of inquiry said in 2021 that the closure of the downtown Melbourne casino would have a negative economic impact and recommended a number of changes, including additional oversight and regular reports to regulators. Blackstone’s acquisition of Crown Resorts cleared by Australian court

Brian Lowry

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