Australian casino tycoon and billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts Ltd decided in 2014 to partner with Andrew Pascal, the ex-president of Wynn Las Vegas and purchase 34.6 acres in Las Vegas, with plans to open a new casino facility called the Alon Las Vegas.
The venture is backed by Oaktree Capital Management and Pascal took on the role of chief executive officer for the Alon Las Vegas. Crown planned to invest $2.5 billion developing the casino resort which would have a total of 1,100 hotel rooms. There have been reports floating around that the Alon Las Vegas project has come to a standstill due to financial constraints.
Packer who ranked 453 on Forbes’ billionaire list recently got his company Consolidated Press Holdings Pty to dispose of 35 million shares in Crown Resorts which resulted in Packer’s stake in the company dropping from over 50 percent to 48.2 percent. The Crown shares were sold at A$12.80 each and brought Packer a total of A$448 million. There were reports that Packer decided to dispose of these shares to bring in revenue as he had recently settled a dispute with his sister Gretel Packer and paid her A$1.25 billion.
Now that Packer is no longer chairman at Crown Resorts and his stake in the company is less than 50 percent, there are reports that Crown Resorts may no longer be interested in developing the Alon Las Vegas project. These reports have been denied by Pascal who admits that the project has slowed down due to market conditions but has confirmed that it has not been put on indefinite hold.
In a statement, Pascal said, “The project hasn’t been suspended and the financing is complicated because it’s a multi-billion-dollar greenfield development.”
The Alon Las Vegas site was secured for $260 million and is being built at the former site of the Frontier. One of the reasons for the slowdown is due to the fact that Packer has found it difficult to raise $1 billion for the project to proceed. Pascal confirmed that Packer’s recent disposal of shares in Crown Resorts had no impact on the Alon Las Vegas project. He stated that the project’s pre-design and design phase are currently in progress.
Crown Resorts had announced earlier this year that it plans to divide its domestic business and international business and will eventually launch an initial public offering (IPO). Consolidated Press which is still the biggest shareholder for Crown Resorts has backed the move and confirmed its commitment to Crown stating that it was excited about future plans.