In a continuation of their current course of selling off assets, Australia’s Crown Resorts has reportedly offered up their majority stake in one of the country’s largest sports betting operations to shareholders including CrownBet founder and CEO Matthew Tripp.
The deal, worth A$150 million, is part of an ongoing effort announced Dec. 14 that could see Crown Resorts eliminate debt and raise as much as $700m. This follows the sell-off of their stake in Macau joint ventures earlier in the year and more recently a pullout from James Packer’s second attempt to establish a Las Vegas presence with the Alon.
The deal is subject to the buyers securing proper funding to complete the deal which would also pay off loans advanced by Crown Resorts to the company, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.
Crown Resorts is expected to be completely divested of the company by the end of February should financing be approved.
Crown has embarked on a strategy of focusing on core assets such as their under construction $1.5b Barangaroo Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, and along with casino properties in Melbourne and Perth.
It’s currently unclear whether the Tripp consortium will enter into a merger with one of the country’s other betting powerhouses, or ramp up operations in order to compete in an increasingly difficult market. Earlier this month, Tabcorp Holding, Australia’s biggest bookmaker, acquired lottery leader Tatts Group for nearly $5b.
Crown Resorts’ restructuring, from boardroom shuffles to asset liquidation can be traced back to the late 2016 arrests of 18 Crown employees, including 3 Australian citizens in Shanghai, China on charges of actively recruiting Chinese citizens to gamble in Australian and other VIP rooms at Crown properties.