Australian gaming group Crown Resorts has confirmed that it has received an unsolicited proposal from the Blackstone Group Inc. to buy all shares in an AUD$8 billion takeover deal.
The news was confirmed on Monday via a press release on the Crown Resorts corporate website. In the release the group confirmed that the offer listed an indicative price of $11.85 per share which marks a 19% premium on Crown Resorts share prices since the release of its most recent financial reports. Blackstone already has a 10% holding in Crown Resorts.
The deal will offer billionaire owner James Packer an exit strategy from the company he founded in 2007 after the brand suffered in recent years.
In 2017, 19 staff were jailed in China for a breach of solicitation laws relating to the acquisition of new customers. There then followed a major crackdown on the movement of capital outside of China which had a significant impact on Crown Resorts’ high-roller revenue.
Packer has intimated in the past that he wants to reduce his involvement with Crown and in 2019 he agreed to sell 19.9% of his 46% stake to Melco Resorts at $13 per share in a deal reportedly worth $1.7 billion.
However, that deal broke down after issues with proposed buyer Lawrence Ho having links to a company that was banned from doing business with Crown Resorts.
As a result, Melco only purchased 10% which the group then sold directly to the Blackstone Group.
Several inquiries and investigations followed that alleged Packer had turned a blind eye to money laundering particularly with regards to high-roller customers from China.
If the deal is to go through, Blackstone will need the backing of the Crown Resorts board who have yet to comment on the bid.