Malaysian gaming giant Genting Berhad and Hard Rock International are among the global casino operators that could consider a takeover of Australia’s Crown Resorts, according to analysts from Deutsche Bank AG.
The local arm of the investment bank also suggested private equity firms could show interest in a buyout following the events of the past 48 hours, which saw US-based casino operator Wynn Resorts terminate negotiations with Crown after news broke of private discussions.
While that US$7.1 billion deal is now off the table, the consensus among analysts and major Australian media outlets is that Crown is officially for sale with the company’s majority shareholder, James Packer, desperate to exit following a turbulent few years in which he has been forced to sell off key assets in both Macau and Las Vegas.
Shares in Crown Resorts declined by around 9% following news that the Wynn deal was off, having surged by 20% when negotiations were first revealed just 24 hours earlier.
However, Bernstein analysts also noted, “There’s no guarantee that any potential discussion around the [Wynn] deal will not resurface.”
Discussing the possible motives for Wynn’s initial interest in Crown, Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu added, “There may be solid synergies with respect to Chinese customers. We also see an acquisition as partly a possible defensive strategy for Wynn to fend off any potential acquirers.
“While a transaction does expose Wynn to development risk of Crown Sydney, introduces Wynn to a slow growth Australian gaming market, increases debt, the synergies may be positive. A deal could also signal to Japan that Wynn is a larger, more serious candidate and Massachusetts may think twice about implementing harsh conditions on the license.”