Blackstone Finally Gets Access to Crown Resorts’ Accounts After $6 Billion Offer
(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Inc. was finally given access to the accounts of troubled Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. after last month increasing its takeover offer to A$8.5 billion ($6 billion).
While the latest bid “does not represent compelling value,” Crown will let the U.S. buyout firm see private information as part of non-exclusive due diligence, Crown said Thursday. This will allow Blackstone to work on a fresh offer “that adequately reflects the value of Crown,” the company said.
Blackstone in late November offered A$12.50 for each Crown share, a 26% premium to the previous close. That’s now proven enough for Crown to open its door to the U.S. suitor, albeit tentatively, after rejecting two previous proposals as too low.
Crown’s shares were down 0.46% at 10.33 a.m. in Sydney. The stock fell as much as 1.1% following the statement.
Crown, whose biggest shareholder is billionaire James Packer, has been hammered by regulatory investigations for more than a year. That hasn’t deterred suitors, which include rival Australian casino operator Star Entertainment Group Ltd., because Crown still has casino monopolies in two Australian cities and a new resort on Sydney’s waterfront.
Crown in October was given two years to address a litany of wrongdoing to save its flagship Melbourne casino after an inquiry found it had underpaid taxes, facilitated money laundering and exploited problem gamblers. In February, Crown was also found unsuitable to run its new casino in Sydney, and it faces a similar inquiry into its Perth operations.
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