Blackstone acquisition of Crown gets Australian government nod

Crown-melbourne

The proposed acquisition of Crown Resorts by U.S.-based Blackstone Group has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), meaning that the Australian government has no objection to the takeover. 

Crown informed shareholders that the buy-out remains subject to a number of other conditions, including approval from gaming regulatory authorities, Crown shareholder approval, and court approval. 

Last month, the Australian casino operator recommended its shareholders vote in favor of an A$8.9 billion ($6.3 billion) all-cash offer from Blackstone to acquire the casino company.

At the time, Crown chairman Ziggy Switkowski said Blackstone‘s all-cash offer “provides shareholders with certainty of value.”

“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,” he said in a statement to shareholders.

“When considering any proposal, the Crown Board has consistently stated it is committed to maximizing 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.”

Crown first received an offer from Blackstone on March 22, 2021, at an indicative price of $11.85 per share. This was later revised to $12.35 cash per share in May of the same year, which was rejected by the Crown board.

On January 13, 2022, Crown received a further revised proposal from Blackstone for $13.10 cash per share. 

The offer made in February represents a premium of 32 percent to the closing price of Crown shares on November 18, 2021, of $9.90 per share.

Felix is the Asia Editor and Events Director of the Asia Gaming Brief. He has over a decade of experience developing conferences for industries including gaming, telecoms, investment, biotechnology, and mining. Felix covers gaming technology and innovation and is passionate about developing engaging and eye-catching content for the industry.