Australia’s Crown Resorts Limited has cleared its last remaining hurdle with the Federal Court of Australia on Wednesday approving its proposed acquisition by US private equity giant The Blackstone Group.
Coming just days after gaming regulators in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia also gave the green light, approval by the court means the acquisition will become effective once the court orders have been lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Crown said on Wednesday that this would likely have been done by the end of the day and that it would request the immediate suspension of trading.
Subject to the scheme of arrangement between Crown and its shareholders becoming legally effective, those shareholders will be paid AU$13.10 (US$9.10) cash per Crown share – expected to take place on 24 June 2022.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, Crown agreed in February to the sale of all of its shares to Blackstone for AU$8.9 billion (US$6.5 billion), equivalent to AU$13.10 per share.
Blackstone’s final proposal was its fourth such attempt to takeover Crown, having launched with an initial bid of AU$11.85 (US$8.29) per share early last year and following with an AU$12.35 (US$8.64) per share offer soon after. Crown knocked back those offers in May 2021, claiming they undervalued the company’s assets and future earnings power.
Blackstone already holds a 9.99% stake in Crown which it acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment in April 2020. Melco had purchased the 9.99% stake from James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings a year earlier but backed out of a deal to purchase a second tranche after regulators in New South Wales launched an independent inquiry, which in February 2021 ultimately led to the NSW regulator finding Crown unsuitable to hold a NSW casino license.