Crown Resorts, the biggest owner and operator of land-based casinos in Australia, is one step closer to changing ownership as the company’s shareholders approved the takeover bid from Blackstone Group.
The shareholders meeting took place on 20 May and 92.05 percent of the participants voted in favor of the acquisition. Moreover, 99.91 percent of the votes cast by shareholders backed the takeover bid.
Initially the vote was supposed to take place on 26 April but it was postponed because Blackstone announced that it had not received all the necessary regulatory approvals.
Now Crown Resorts will have to present the deal in a court hearing, and if that goes well the court order would be later submitted to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. After that step, the scheme will finally become legally effective and the Crown Resorts shares will be suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Multiple Offers Throughout More Than A Year
The saga of the Crown Resorts takeover started in March 2021, when Blackstone Group, a powerful global private equity group, made an offer worth 11.85 Australian dollars per share. That bid was rejected and later the buyer came up with an improved offer, worth 12.35 dollars per share.
That bid was not good enough for Crown Resorts either, and in November 2021 Blackstone made another offer, proposing a price of 12.50 Australian dollars per share. Blackstone already owned 9.9 percent of Crown Resorts, a stake that was acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited in April 2020. The price per share at that time was just 8.15 dollars.
The latest bid for Crown Resorts was submitted by Blackstone in January, offering a price of 13.1 Australian dollars cash per share for a total of 8.9 billion Australian dollars for the whole deal.
That offer was finally approved by the Crown Resorts board, which issued a statement in which it unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favor of the acquisition.
Crown Resorts is faced with a number of inquiries after in February 2021 the company was deemed unsuitable to operate a casino in Barangaroo, Sydney, after an investigation uncovered evidence of money laundering in its facilities. Later in 2021 the Australian company was also ruled as unsuitable to operate a casino in Victoria and in February 2022 the company received a similar verdict from the Perth Casino Royal Commission, which found the company ineligible to operate its landmark casino in Perth.