Australia’s biggest gaming operator Crown Resorts has accepted an $8.9 billion takeover bid from American private equity firm Blackstone Inc.
The Crown board unanimously recommends that shareholders now vote in favour of the deal, which will entitle them to $13.10 cash per share.
The scheme implementation deed as announced to the market this morning values Crown’s equity at approximately $8.9 billion and bests an original offer made by Blackstone in March 2021 by more than $845 million.
Crown chair Ziggy Switkowski said the deal represents good value for shareholders, if they vote in favour of it.
“The Board has fully considered the Blackstone Transaction and unanimously recommends the proposal, subject to customary conditions such as an independent expert concluding the transaction is in the best interests of Crown shareholders and there being no superior proposal,” Mr Switkowski said.
“When considering any proposal, the Crown Board has consistently stated it is committed to maximising value for Crown shareholders.”
Crown’s Managing Director and CEO Steve McCann said the size of the offer reflected the power of the Crown brand.
“The announcement today represents a compelling offer for Crown’s shareholders to consider. The price appropriately reflects the value of Crown’s world-class assets and global reputation for premium service and experiences,” Mr McCann said.
“The agreement with Blackstone also highlights the strength of the Crown brand and confidence in our future as we emerge from some challenging times, which is welcome news for our people, customers and stakeholders.”
The acceptance of the offer comes as the gaming operator works to rebuild following a number of damaging years.
Allegations made by a 60 Minutes episode prompted an inquiry into Crown’s association with known criminal persons, and caused the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) in NSW to not grant a gaming licence for Crown’s new $2.2 billion Crown Sydney casino.
Crown Resorts wholly owns and operates two of Australia’s biggest casinos in Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth.
It also has major holdings in Crown Sydney and Crown London Aspinalls.