In Australia and the federal government’s Foreign Investment Review Board has reportedly signed off on a plan that would see American private equity management firm The Blackstone Group Incorporated purchase local casino operator Crown Resorts Limited.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the green light from the advisory body represents an important step in the New York-based buyer’s around $6.5 billion pitch to acquire the company behind the gambling-friendly Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth facilities. The source detailed that the required approval has also satisfied a key clause of a scheme implementation deed the pair signed and released to the Sydney bourse in February.
Crown Resorts Limited is moreover reportedly responsible for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Crown London Aspinalls property but was left reeling last year when the casino license for its new Crown Sydney development was rescinded. This move purportedly followed a state-run inquiry’s determination that the Melbourne-headquartered operator may have been complicit in numerous instances of money laundering owing to its past use of foreign junket firms.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that this unfortunate judgement precipitated analogous probes by officials in the states of Victoria and Western Australia and saw Crown Resorts Limited embark on a comprehensive reform program that included an almost complete reorganization of its board of directors. The Blackstone Group Incorporated subsequently entered the fray with a proposal that would see it buy all of the gambling giant’s issued shares at an individual price in the region of $9.56.
The Blackstone Group Incorporated is already responsible for the 4,000-room Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and reportedly last month had this takeover offer approved by Crown Resorts Limited’s board of directors to set up a deciding shareholder vote that is expected to take place in April, May or June. In the meantime and the buyer is purportedly having its affairs investigated by numerous state and federal bodies including the casino watchdogs for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
Ziggy Switkowski took over as the Chairman for Sydney-listed Crown Resorts Limited in December and he reportedly described the offer from The Blackstone Group Incorporated as ‘an attractive outcome for shareholders’ in light of his firm’s recent regulatory setbacks. The former boss of Australian telecommunications giant Telstra Corporation Limited purportedly furthermore asserted that the all-cash proposition ‘provides shareholders with certainty of value’ and is far superior to a June tender from American investments equity giant Oaktree Capital Management LP.