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  • Following a string of upsets, embattled casino giant Crown Resorts (CWN) has received a buyout offer from Blackstone Group worth $8.02 billion
  • Blackstone has offered to purchase each of Crown’s shares for $11.85 in cash, representing a 20.2 per cent premium to its closing share price of $9.86 on Friday
  • Blackstone holds a 9.99 per cent stake in Crown, which it acquired from Macau’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment in April last year
  • The offer remains subject to a number of conditions, including due diligence, arranging debt finance and Blackstone receiving approval from gaming regulators
  • Shares in Crown Resorts have soared 18.05 per cent this morning to $11.64 each

Following a string of upsets, embattled casino giant Crown Resorts (CWN) has received a buyout offer from Blackstone Group worth $8.02 billion.

The private equity company holds a 9.99 per cent stake in Crown, which it acquired from Macau’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment in April last year — making it the second-largest shareholder after James Packer.

Blackstone has offered to purchase all of Crown’s shares for $11.85 per security, representing a 20.2 per cent premium to the company’s closing share price of $9.86 on Friday.

“The Crown board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal,” the company said this morning, urging shareholders to take no action for the time being.

“It will now commence a process to assess the proposal, having regard to the value and terms of the proposal and other considerations.”

Blackstone’s offer follows the release of a scathing report by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin in February.

The year-long investigation found that Crown had facilitated money laundering through shell accounts connected to its Perth and Melbourne casinos and was “recklessly indifferent” to the activities of criminals using those accounts to launder money.

It also discovered that Crown had partnered with junket operators linked to organised crime.

As a result, Crown was deemed no longer suitable to hold its Sydney casino licence, five directors resigned — including chief executive Ken Barton — and the company is facing royal commissions into both its Perth and Melbourne operations.

Crown’s financial performance has also come under fire after posting its first half-year loss in more than a decade thanks to lockdown restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The offer remains subject to a number of conditions, including due diligence, arranging debt finance and Blackstone receiving approval from gaming regulators that it would be allowed to continue owning and operating the Perth, Melbourne and Sydney licences.

Swiss-based UBS has been appointed by Crown as financial advisor, while Sydney-based law firm Allens will act as legal advisor for the proposal.

Shares in Crown Resorts soared 18.05 per cent this morning to $11.64 each at 10:33 am AEDT.

CWN by the numbers
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