Business

Blackstone’s acquisition of Crown Resorts draws closer with licensing approvals

The takeover of the Australian Crown Resorts Ltd. by Blackstone Inc., valued at $6.3 billion, moved closer to approval after regulators in two Australian states gave the US private equity giant permission to operate a casino.

Casino regulators in the states of New South Wales and Victoria had approved the acquisition of ASX-listed Crown CWN.
+1.96%
by Blackstone BX,
-2.86%,
Krone announced this on Thursday. It said regulatory approval in the state of Western Australia was still required.

Blackstone already has real estate assets in Australia and gaming businesses in other countries. It first offered to buy Crown in 2021 for AU$11.85 (US$8.52) per share and raised its bid several times until Crown accepted a cash offer for A$13.10 per share in February 2022.

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority and the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission said in separate statements Thursday Blackstone had agreed to a number of operational changes recommended by investigations at Crown.

“Our approval is subject to strict conditions that strike the balance between tightening controls on the casino and ensuring it continues to be the flagship casino in Australia,” said the Victoria Casinos Regulator.

“We will take action if either Blackstone or Crown fails to meet any of these conditions,” it said.

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

A separate investigation in Victoria found Crown engaged 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.

Crown’s shares rose 1.8% to A$12.98.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/blackstone-s-crown-takeover-edges-closer-with-license-approvals-update-271654736184?rss=1&siteid=rss Blackstone’s acquisition of Crown Resorts draws closer with licensing approvals

Brian Lowry

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