Source: Reuters
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  • US investment giant Blackstone edges closer to its proposed buyout of embattled casino operator Crown Resorts (CWN) after landing regulatory approval in two Australian states
  • The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) and the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) have both greenlit the $8.9 billion deal
  • This means all that remains for the takeover to proceed is approval from the Western Australian gaming regulator, after which the deal will move to the Federal Court
  • The Victorian and NSW regulators’ approval came with strict conditions regarding Crown’s board membership, anti-money laundering processes, and audition requirements
  • Shares in Crown Resorts were up 2.12 per cent and trading at $13.02 at 2:49 pm AEST

US investment giant Blackstone has edged closer to its proposed buyout of embattled ASX-listed casino operator Crown Resorts (CWN) after landing key regulatory approvals in two Australian states.

Crown today said the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) and the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) had greenlit the $8.9 billion deal, which would see Blackstone take full control of Crown for $13.10 per share.

This means all that remains for the takeover to proceed is approval from the Western Australian gaming regulator.

If approved by WA, the deal will then move to the Federal Court for final approval.

Billionaire James Packer will pocket $3.2 billion for his 37 per cent ownership of Crown should the deal be approved by the court.

Crown has come under scrutiny over recent years after facing a string of scandals, including an investigation into its operations that found it enabled money laundering.

Australia’s financial regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), officially launched civil action in the Federal Court against the casino operator earlier this year, and in March the Perth Casino Royal Commission found Crown unsuitable to hold a gaming licence in Western Australia.

Now, key regulators in Victoria and New South Wales have deemed Blackstone a suitable new operator of the gambling giant, though the approvals are not without certain conditions.

For example, the VGCCC said its approval required Crown Melbourne to have a majority independent board of directors, stricter anti-money laundering reporting processes, and additional auditing requirements, among other conditions.

The Victorian regulator said it would take action if any of its conditions were not met by both Blackstone and Crown.

Shares in Crown Resorts were up 2.12 per cent and trading at $13.02 at 2:49 pm AEST.

CWN by the numbers
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