Troubled casino giant Crown Resorts has received a takeover bid from the private equity group Blackstone.
The James Packer-backed group said on Monday morning that it received the unsolicited, non-binding and indicative proposal from Blackstone on Sunday worth $11.85 per share, valuing Crown at $8 billion. Crown’s shares last traded at $9.86.
“The Crown Board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal,” the company said in an ASX statement.
“It will now commence a process to assess the proposal, having regard to the value and terms of the Proposal and other considerations.”
Blackstone – which manages $US619 billion ($800 billion) of assets globally – came onto the Crown share register in April 2020 when it bought a 9.99 per cent stake in the company from Hong Kong casino group Melco Resorts for a bargain price of $8.15 a share.
Mr Packer still owns 37 per cent of the shares in Crown making him a kingmaker in any takeover bid. The billionaire has tried to sell his stake or privatise Crown several times in recent years.
The New York-based Blackstone has considerable experience with casinos and hotels. In Las Vegas it owns The Cosmopolitan, and the real estate assets of the MGM Grand, MGM Mandalay Bay and Bellagio resorts.
In 2018 it bought the European outfit Cirsa, which operates more than 140 casinos across Spain and Latin America, and just last week agreed to buy the American hotel chain Extended Stay America in partnership with investment firm Starwood for $US6 billion.
A spokeswoman for Blackstone confirmed it had made the takeover offer and that it was subject to a number of conditions. They include Crown’s directors unanimously supporting the sale and Blackstone receiving clearance as a “suitable person” to operate Crown’s Sydney, Melbourne and Perth casinos.
This story originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. Read