American private equity management firm The Blackstone Group Incorporated has reportedly increased its bid to take over Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Limited by another $300 million.
According to a report from the Bloomberg news service, the New York-headquartered investor had its earlier offer of approximately $6.2 billion rebuffed last month but has now returned with an around $6.5 billion offer that would see it acquire all of the gambling giant’s issued shares at an individual price in the region of $9.56.
Crown Resorts Limited is reportedly responsible for the gambling-friendly Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth facilities in Australia as well as the United Kingdom’s prestigious Crown London Aspinalls property. However, the Sydney-listed operator has purportedly been suffering of late after it was refused a casino license for its new Crown Sydney venue owing to allegations that it may have been complicit in a slew of money laundering offences tied to its past use of foreign junket enterprises.
Currently involved in implementing a wide-ranging corporate reform program, Crown Resorts Limited reportedly indicated that it now intends to discuss the fresh offer with The Blackstone Group Incorporated and could ultimately end up accepting the advance. This news purportedly sent the casino operator’s share price up by 8.7% earlier today to a 25-month high of about $9.22.
The Blackstone Group Incorporated is reportedly already the second largest shareholder in Crown Resorts Limited although its current 9.99% interest is dwarfed by the roughly 37% stake held by the Melbourne-headquartered operator’s founder, controversial Australian businessman James Packer. Bloomberg disclosed that the latest takeover offer would have the added benefit of allowing this 54-year-old figure, who has recently retreated from public view in order to deal with a number of mental health issues, to make a clean exit from the company he led until stepping down in March of 2018.
Steve Johnson serves as the Chief Investment Officer for boutique investments firm Forager Funds Management, which holds shares in Crown Resorts Limited, and he reportedly told the news service that the casino operator ‘remains a high-quality and valuable asset’ that is destined to be ‘worth more to private equity than it is ever going to be worth listed’.
Johnson reportedly stated…
“The increase in offer price is a welcome step and we are supportive of the board continuing a push for an appropriate firm offer.”
Bloomberg reported that any such buyout could additionally run into complications due to the fact that it would need to be approved by the gaming regulators for the states of Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales. Nevertheless, the ultimate prize would see The Blackstone Group Limited take control over a firm that has casino monopolies in two of Australia’s largest cities in addition a gleaming $1.6 billion development along the Sydney waterfront.