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  • Crown Resorts (CWN) receives a revised takeover bid from Blackstone, which values the embattled casino operator at roughly $8.46 billion
  • According to the new proposal, the US-based private equity firm has offered Crown’s shareholders $12.50 in cash per share
  • The revised offer follows two earlier bids, which were ultimately dismissed for being undervalued
  • The deal remains subject to several conditions, including the tick of approval from regulators in WA, NSW and Victoria
  • Shares in Crown Resorts are up 16.5 per cent to $11.53 as of 12:05 pm AEDT

Crown Resorts (CWN) has received a revised takeover bid from Blackstone, which values the embattled casino operator at roughly $8.46 billion.

According to the new proposal, the US-based private equity firm has offered Crown’s shareholders $12.50 in cash per share, representing a 26.6 per cent premium to the company’s closing price of $9.87 on Thursday.

Blackstone currently holds a 9.99 per cent stake in Crown, which it acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment in April 2020 for $8.15 per share.

The updated offer follows an initial bid in March, under which Blackstone proposed to acquire Crown’s shares for $11.85 each. That bid was increased to $12.35 per share in May but was rejected not long after for being undervalued, with Crown instead favouring a separate takeover offer from The Star Entertainment Group.

However, The Star’s proposal — which valued Crown at roughly $9 billion — was withdrawn in July, with Australia’s number two casino operator citing ongoing investigations into Crown.

“The Crown Board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal,” Crown said in a statement this morning.

“It will now assess the proposal, having regard to the value and terms of the proposal and other considerations. It will also engage with relevant stakeholders including regulatory authorities.”

Crown noted that shareholders are not required to take any action for now and that the proposed deal remains subject to a number of conditions.

Those conditions include Blackstone conducting due diligence on an exclusive basis, as well as the firm receiving final approval from its investment committees.

Crown, on the other hand, will need unanimous support for the offer from its Board, along with a commitment from all Directors to vote in favour of the proposal.

Blackstone and Crown will also need to sign a binding implementation agreement, which will in turn feature various conditions regarding Blackstone’s regulatory approvals and Crown’s licenses.

“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.”

Notably, Blackstone appears less fussed about Crown’s regulatory strife than The Star. Crown currently faces the ongoing Perth Royal Commission, a consultation process with the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority, and an investigation by AUSTRAC. Legislation related to the Victorian Royal Commission is also still to be implemented.

Still, Blackstone said it is “prepared to proceed with the proposed transaction” should the go-ahead be given from regulators.

Shares in Crown Resorts are up 16.5 per cent to $11.53 as of 12:05 pm AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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