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April 20, 2019

Australia casino giant Crown mulling $7.1 bn takeover by Wynn

Australia casino giant Crown mulling $7.1 bn takeover by Wynn
'Crown Resorts owns casinos in Melbourne and Perth, and is building another in Sydney' - By: AFP WILLIAM WEST

Australian gambling giant Crown Resorts on Tuesday confirmed a takeover offer from US gaming group Wynn Resorts, estimated to be worth more than US$7 billion, sending the firm's shares surging by almost 20 percent.

The Sydney-listed company -- which owns casinos in Melbourne and Perth, and is building another in Sydney -- said the talks were "at a preliminary stage".

Wynn's proposal is a cash and share buyout at Aus$14.75 per share, for a total value of Aus$10 billion (US$7.1 billion). Shares in Crown soared 19.67 percent to close Aus$14.05 on Tuesday.

"Crown confirms that it is in confidential discussions with Wynn regarding a potential change of control transaction following approaches to Crown by Wynn," the firm said in a statement.

"No agreement has been reached between the parties in relation to the structure, value or terms of a transaction. There is no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction."

Crown has undergone significant restructuring in recent years and divested itself of several overseas interests.

A crackdown by Beijing has driven away many big-spenders and hurt revenues. Around the same time, several of its employees were detained in China before being released in 2017.

Last year Australian tycoon and former Crown head James Packer, son of the late publishing and gaming mogul Kerry Packer, abruptly departed the family firm citing "mental health issues", though he remains a significant shareholder.

Wynn Resorts, which employs 23,000 people around the world, operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau.

Founder Steve Wynn sold his entire stake in the Las Vegas-based firm after he stepped down earlier this year as chairman and chief executive in the wake of allegations of decades of sexual misconduct.

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