February 14, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Crown Resorts – owner of major hotels and event venues in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – looks set to be bought by Blackstone, after it accepted an $8.9 billion takeover offer from the US private equity company.

Crown will recommend to shareholders that they vote to accept the offer at a meeting in the second quarter of this year, which will see them paid out at $13.10 per share.

“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,” said Crown Chair Ziggy Switkowski.

“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’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Steve McCann, called the takeover offer “compelling”.

“The price appropriately reflects the value of Crown’s world-class assets and global reputation for premium service and experiences.

“The agreement with Blackstone also highlights the strength of the Crown brand and confidence in our future as we emerge from some challenging times, which is welcome news for our people, customers and stakeholders.”

The offer being put to shareholders is the third offer from Blackstone, which made its original bid of $11.85 per share in March 2021.

Crown’s casino operations have been the subject of investigations in all three operating states over the past few years, with Crown Sydney still not granted a licence to operate its gaming rooms, more than a year after opening.