The deal would see the investment business acquire all of the shares in Crown by way of a scheme of arrangement at a price of AU$13.10 cash per share. The consideration represents an increase in equity value of over AU$845m to the price of AU$11.85 cash per share initially offered by Blackstone in March 2021.
That initial proposal was followed by a revised proposal in May 2021, at an indicative price of AU$12.35 cash per share, which was rejected by Crown. A further offer of AU$12.50 cash per share followed in November 2021, which the operator deemed as not representing compelling value for its shareholders.
Crown did, however, allow Blackstone to undertake due diligence inquiries so it could return with a revised proposal that reflected Crown’s value. This revised proposal arrived in January 2022, and has today been backed by the company’s board.
“The board has fully considered the Blackstone Transaction and unanimously recommends the proposal, subject to customary conditions such as an independent expert concluding the transaction is in the best interests of Crown shareholders and there being no superior proposal,” said Crown Chairman Ziggy Switkowski.
“When considering any proposal, the Crown board has consistently stated it is committed to maximising value for Crown shareholders. The Crown board and management have made good progress in addressing a number of significant challenges and issues emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and various regulatory processes.
“Nevertheless, uncertainty remains and having regard to those circumstances and the underlying value of Crown we believe the Blackstone Transaction represents an attractive outcome for shareholders. The all-cash offer provides shareholders with certainty of value.”