Wynn Resorts has submitted a confidential takeover proposal to Australia’s Crown Resorts, according to local media reports.
The Australian Financial Review is reporting that Wynn Resorts is looking to initiate talks with Crown to test whether or not its shareholders would be willing to pursue a takeover deal. Crown has allegedly knocked back the approach at this stage but is said to have appointed both UBS and Goldman Sachs as joint advisors pending any further developments in the future.
News of the approach comes as Wynn Resorts fights to maintain control of its US$2.6 billion integrated resort Encore Boston Harbor following a three-day hearing by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last week into the company’s suitability to hold a state gaming license. The hearing took place in the wake of an investigation into the board’s handling of sexual assault allegations against founder Steve Wynn which saw the casino mogul stand down and sell off his entire stake in the company in early 2018.
Crown, which operates Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth and is currently developing its luxury AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney at Barangaroo, also saw its largest shareholder, James Packer, step down from the board last year with both Crown and Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings citing mental health reasons.
Traditionally Australia’s leading casino operator, Crown recently pulled back on its international expansion plans, including exiting its joint venture partnership with Melco Resorts in Macau and the sale of 34.6 acres of land on the Las Vegas Strip upon which it had planned to build an integrated resort called Alon. Ironically, that land was purchased by Wynn Resorts for AU$300 million in December 2017.
Crown has also lost ground in the international VIP market to local rival Star Entertainment Group in recent years.
A Wynn Resorts spokesman told Inside Asian Gaming that the company has “no comment to make” on the report.