Blackstone’s takeover of Crown Resorts approved by Australian court

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BX from Blackstone Inc.,
$ 6.07 billion acquisition of Australia Crown Resorts Ltd. CWN,
+ 0.23%
it was approved by the country’s Federal Court, removing its last regulatory hurdle.

Crown casino operator said on Wednesday it expects to present court orders to the Australian securities regulator by the end of the day. Its shares listed on ASX will be suspended at the close of trading on Wednesday, he added.

The US private equity giant agreed in February to pay A $ 13.10 (US $ 9.00) in cash for Crown. Shares rose 0.15% to A $ 13.07.

Blackstone will add Crown to its real estate assets in Australia and to betting businesses in other countries. It first offered to buy Crown in 2021 for A $ 11.85 per share and increased its bid several times.

Last week, casino regulators in the three Australian states in which Crown operates approved the acquisition.

Crown said it expects the acquisition to take effect on June 24.

The acquisition puts an end to Crown’s long-standing partnership with billionaire James Packer, which controls nearly 37% of Crown’s shares through its investment firm, Consolidated Press Holdings Pty. Ltd.

Crown has been regularly embroiled in controversy since 2016, when its employees were arrested in China for gambling-related crimes. The company reversed its international ambitions, although it has been the subject of regulatory consultations on its domestic operations.

The opening of Sydney’s new Crown Casino in 2020 was delayed after an investigation in the state of New South Wales found that the company’s bank accounts were being used to launder money and were operating from inappropriately with the so-called junket operators in Asia to attract players.

An independent investigation in the state of Victoria found that Crown behaved illegally and dishonestly. The commission of inquiry said in 2021 that closing the casino in central Melbourne would have negative economic effects and recommended a number of changes that included additional oversight and regular reporting to regulators.

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