Blackstone comes back to Crown Resorts with sweetened takeover bid

Crown Resorts has received another acquisition proposal from Blackstone, with the private equity firm upping its offer price to $12.50 per share.

The bid follows previous attempts by Blackstone of $11.85 cash per share in March 2021 and $12.35 cash per share in May, both of which were rejected.

In a statement to shareholders, Crown noted that the latest offer price will be reduced by the value of any dividends or distributions declared or paid by the group, and is subject to a number of conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“Any acquisition of Crown by Blackstone would be conditional on Blackstone receiving final approval from the casino regulators in each of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia,” Crown said.

“Blackstone has stated that it has engaged with the regulators in relation to this issue and that the regulators’ advisers have indicated to Blackstone that there is no reason to believe that an approval would not be realised.

“Blackstone has stated that this position is subject to the provision of further information and that the regulators’ advisers are continuing their review.

“Blackstone has stated that it is prepared to proceed with the proposed transaction upon Blackstone receiving final confirmation of suitability from the regulators, even if the Perth Royal Commission remains ongoing, Crown’s consultation process with the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority remains ongoing, the legislation to implement the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission is yet to be finalised or passed, or the current AUSTRAC investigations are not completed.

“However, the consequences or outcomes of these processes may impact the proposed transaction.”

Blackstone’s proposed acquisition would be funded through a combination of debt and equity. The private equity giant currently has a shareholding of 9.99 per cent in Crown which it acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment for $8.15 per share in April 2020.

Crown said its board has not yet formed a view on Blackstone’s latest bid.

“It will now assess the proposal, having regard to the value and terms of the proposal and other considerations,” the company said.

“It will also engage with relevant stakeholders including regulatory authorities.”

Crown has appointed UBS and Gresham Partners as financial advisers, and Herbert Smith Freehills as legal adviser for the proposal.