Blackstone is close to reaching a $6.5 billion deal to buy James Packer’s Crown casino group

Crown Resorts has agreed to enter exclusive takeover talks with Blackstone after the US investment firm made an offer to acquire the Australian casino operator for around A$8.9 billion (A$8.9 billion). 6.5 billion US dollars).

Proposal to revise Crown’s valuation at AU$13.10 per share, adding AU$0.60 per share, or around AU$1 billion in total, from an earlier proposal made by Blackstone out to buy the business backed by Australian billionaire James Packer in November.

Blackstone’s Latest Bid Follows many times try to convince the Australian corporate board to accept an offer.

The deal highlights global investor interest in Australian assets despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The market has been one of the most active for mergers and acquisitions over the past year, fueled by cheap financing and private equity targeting listed assets including telecom operators, airport and funds. That has seen the value of deals jump to record levels.

The crown has been the subject of a tender war since May between Blackstone and Star Entertainment Group, a smaller casino rival has been pursuing the merger.

Star withdrew its profits in July when Australian authorities said Crown was likely to lose its gambling license after a Investigate allegation of money laundering. That threat was lifted in September after the investigation ended and Star expressed interest in reinstating the A$12 billion merger proposal.

Blackstone will complete the due diligence process in the coming days. If it decides to make a binding offer of not less than A$13.10 per share, the bid will be unanimously accepted by the board of directors of Crown, an Australian company. speak.

“Currently, the Crown Board of Directors has a strong intention to recommend that shareholders vote in favor of the proposal in the absence of a superior recommendation and subject to the conclusion of an Independent Expert (and further concludes) that the proposed transaction is in the best interests of Crown shareholders,” the company said.

Blackstone’s latest deal in the casino space, after the private equity investor agreed in 2019 to acquire the Bellagio Hotel and Casino real estate in Las Vegas from MGM. for $4.25 billion.

Blackstone, which already owns 9.99% of Crown, switched to buying the entire company after The Australian regulator has ruled Last year, Crown couldn’t afford to operate a new A$2.2 billion casino resort in Sydney because of money-laundering concerns and poor corporate governance.

Packer, who owns more than a third of the company’s shares, resigned from Crown’s board in 2018, citing mental health issues. A government-mandated investigation has since said he had to stop “remote maneuvering” operations in the company’s best interests.

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