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Australia's Crown Resorts backs US$6.3 billion Blackstone buyout offer

Australia's Crown Resorts backs US$6.3 billion Blackstone buyout offer

The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, Jun 13, 2017. (File photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)

Australia's largest casino operator Crown Resorts said on Monday (Feb 14) it would back a A$8.87 billion (US$6.3 billion) binding takeover offer from US private equity firm Blackstone.

Shareholders of Crown, which has faced damaging misconduct inquiries in every state it operates in and has also been hammered by a COVID-19-led drop in visitors, will get A$13.10 a share, a 5.7 per cent premium to the stock's last close.

The news looks set to end a months-long saga which included three earlier bids from Blackstone, rival Star Entertainment withdrawing a A$9 billion offer, and Oaktree Capital calling off talks to buy out Crown founder James Packer's stake.

The latest offer price is 10.5 per cent higher than Blackstone's first A$11.85 apiece bid in March last year.

"The all-cash offer provides shareholders with certainty of value," Crown Chairman Ziggy Switkowski said in a statement.

The deal will go ahead after an independent expert deems the offer is suitable for shareholders, as well as approvals from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and casino regulators, Crown said.

A shareholder meeting to vote on the deal is expected to be held in the second quarter, it added.

Source: Reuters/ng
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