The key stakeholder in Crown Resorts – James Packer – has indicated that he could consider the sale of his 37% stake in the Australian gambling giant after the takeover offer made by the private equity firm Blackstone.
The billionaire has made a U-turn in his previous position that he would leave any takeover deal in the hands of Crown Resorts’ board. Now, he said that he will make an independent assessment of the advantages of any proposal for an acquisition deal.
In a statement issued on April 6th, the private company of James Packer – Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) – revealed that it had hired Moelis Australia investment bankers to advise it on any possible deal that could occur as a result of the takeover offer of Blackstone.
As Casino Guardian reported, the US private equity investor Blackstone already holds a 10% stake in Crown Resorts and lobbed its takeover offer on March 21st, estimating the Australian gambling giant at about AU$8 billion and the stake of Mr Packer at AU$3 billion.
The statement released by the CPH said that the company welcomed the Crown board’s announcement that it would begin a process to assess the takeover proposal. It would also engage with relevant stakeholders, including regulatory bodies about the proposals. As Consolidated Press Holdings said in its statement, it is open to consideration and will independently evaluate any suitable transaction for Crown Resorts’ stakes.
Mr Packer Aims at Reducing or Eliminating His Stake in the Australian Casino Giant
James Packer has been looking to reduce or fully end his existing stake in Crown Resorts. He currently holds the majority stake in the Australian gambling giant.
However, the assertion that CPH will make an independent assessment of any deal proposed by Blackstone is a significant move for the company, especially after in March 2021 Mr Packer revealed for Australian Financial Review that he was following the Crown Resorts’ Board of Directors’ decisions regarding his position on selling his stake in the gambling market giant.
This statement of Mr Packer fuelled speculation whether the major stakeholder of the company would not engage with Blackstone individually and let Crown Resorts’ fate be determined by the company’s board that is currently led by Helen Coonan, the executive chairman.
Mr Packer has reserved the right to make his own decisions on a possible transaction proposed to the Australian gambling giant, which basically means that he could be the one deciding the fate of the deal, as he would have the voting power to block any proposal he finds unsatisfactory.
According to market analysts, Blackstone’s acquisition offer of AU$11.85 per share was too low, especially considering the fact that the share price of the struggling Australian gambling giant immediately increasing higher than the offer price. Lately, the company has been facing some difficulties, with state regulatory bodies investigating its operations following reports of possible money laundering and connections to criminal organisations through junket partners.