Crown Resorts shareholders approve Blackstone acquisition offer

Crown Resorts has taken a step closer to being acquired by Blackstone and its affiliates, following a shareholder vote that received near-unanimous approval. 

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The proposed acquisition, which is led by SS Silver II Pty, a registered subsidiary of Blackstone, was initially put forward in March 2021. This valued Crown Resorts at AU$8.1bn (US$5.7bn), despite its seemingly never-ending regulatory struggles.

This offer was later revised in both May and November 2021, following rejections from Crown’s Board of Directors. 

On 14 February 2022, the Board finally approved an offer valuing the gambling group at AU$8.9bn, or AU$13.10 per share. The deal is to be an all-cash offer. 

At the time, Crown Chairman Ziggy Switkowski commented: “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.” 

Now, following a vote where 99.91% of shareholders signalled their approval for the acquisition, it seems the process is set to move swiftly to its conclusion after 15 months of deliberations. 

While the deal is subject to Blackstone’s gambling regulations being in order, Crown Resorts has already applied to the Federal Court of Australia to give the deal its final seal of approval. 

An initial court date is set for 24 May, although this is likely to be adjourned until the week commencing 6 June to allow the relevant paperwork to be processed. 

Assuming the deal is approved by the authorities, the acquisition will finalise seven business days after the court hearing, upon which date Crown’s shareholders will receive their compensation.

It seems Crown Resorts' geographical appeal and revenue potential are enough to attract an offer, although its struggles with regulators may well have devalued it ahead of the transaction.

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