Crown Resorts’ $6.5B Acquisition Pending Final Court Hearing

Australian land-based casino operator Crown Resorts announced in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) today that it has filed materials conccerning the proposed acquisition by Blackstone with the Federal Court of Australia.

Final Court Hearing Date Pending

Last week, Crown Resorts shareholders voted to almost unanimously approve the proposed transaction by way of Scheme of Arrangement and the Federal Court “made orders adjourning the final Court hearing to approve the Scheme to a date to be fixed.”

In February, the American investment management company tabled AU$13.1 ($9.29) per Crown Resorts share in a total valuation of $6.5 billion, enticing shareholders with a 32% premium on the share daily close on November 18, 2021, when Blackstone made an opening bid of AU$12.50.

By the end of March, the proposed transaction passed the first hurdle after the Foreign Investment Review Board approved the acquisition, sending a written statement to Blackstone that the Australian government does not object to the deal.

In its latest filing to the ASX, Crown Resorts outlined that “the date of the final hearing depends on when the condition precedent relating to Blackstone obtaining gaming regulatory approvals is satisfied.”

Seeking to have the date of the final hearing fixed “for the earliest possible date,” Crown noted it would announce the date via the exchange announcements platform once it has been fixed and will publish it on its website.

Based on the available information to date, the company is expecting that the final hearing will take place in the week commencing June 6, 2022.

Approximately seven business days after the final hearing, Crown Resorts and Blackstone will finalize the transaction, enabling Crown shareholders to receive their compensation.

Victoria Toughens Responsible Gambling Rules

In another news today, the government in Victoria introduced new laws seeking to increase the power of the state’s gambling regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), to deal with casinos that do not hold their responsibilities in terms of minimizing gambling harm.

The new legislation, proposed in response to the recommendations put forward by the Victorian royal commission dealing with Crown Resorts last year which uncovered disturbing facts about the operator’s practices related to its responsible gambling obligations, is seen as a move designed “to hold Crown to account.”

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