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Dow Jones Newswires: Blackstone’s takeover of Crown Resorts approved by Australian court


Blackstone Inc.’s

US$6.07 billion takeover of Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd.

was approved by the country’s Federal Court, clearing its final regulatory hurdle.

Casino operator Crown said Wednesday that it expects to lodge the court’s orders with Australia’s securities regulator by the end of the day. Its ASX-listed shares will be suspended at Wednesday’s close of trade, it added.

The U.S. private-equity giant agreed in February to pay 13.10 Australian dollars (US$9.00) a share in cash for Crown. The stock was last up 0.15% at A$13.07.

Blackstone will add Crown to its real-estate assets in Australia and gambling businesses in other countries. It first offered to buy Crown in 2021 for A$11.85 a share and raised its offer a number of times.

Last week, casino regulators in the three Australian states in which Crown operates approved the takeover.

Crown said it expects that the takeover will be implemented on June 24.

The takeover ends Crown’s long association with billionaire James Packer, who controls almost 37% of Crown shares via his investment company, Consolidated Press Holdings Pty. Ltd.

Crown has regularly been mired in controversy since 2016, when its employees were arrested in China for gambling-related crimes. The company wound back its international ambitions, though it has been the subject of regulatory inquiries over its domestic operations.

The opening of Crown’s new Sydney casino in 2020 was delayed after an inquiry in the state of New South Wales found that company bank accounts were used to launder money, and that it improperly worked with so-called junket operators in Asia to bring in gamblers.

A separate inquiry in Victoria state found that Crown engaged in illegal and dishonest behavior. The investigating commission said in 2021 that closing the casino in Melbourne’s downtown would have negative economic effects and recommended a suite of changes including additional oversight and regular reports to regulators.

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