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Mike Johnson August 29, 2019 3 min read
Crown, Melco Delay Shares Transfers amid Investigation
- Melco and Crown Resorts will wait until September 30 to transfer remaining shares
- Move is occasioned aid an NSW investigation
- Share price to go up if deal is not concluded by the deadline
Melco Resorts and Crown Resorts have agreed to defer the second-tranche of a $135.35 million-share deal amid an ongoing Australian investigation into alleged criminals links.
Melco and Crown Agree to Wait on Share Acquisition Deal
Melco Resorts & Entertainment has had to reconsider its decision to purchase 19.99% of Australia’s Crown Resorts Capital. The decision comes in light of a New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Authority investigation looking into the possibility that Crown Resorts has been involved with criminal syndicates in Asia.
Originally, Melco and Crown agreed to transfer $135.35 million shares back in May, with Melco completing the first tranche in June. However, the second one may now be delayed, although the deadline is until 30 September.
Presently, there are $67.675 million shares to be acquired. In light of the official probe, the companies have agreed to allow for the investigation to be finalized before another decision is made. However, the companies won’t delay the sale by more than 60 days.
Crown’s Ties to Organized Crime: Bogus or True?
Crown has been in quite a mess. The casino operator is suspected of having expedited visas and allowed well-connected foreigners to enter Australia and gamble In one instance, the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cousin was mentioned.
The case is now going to be led by a former Supreme Court judge at New South Wales. Specifically, the Commission is going to focus on several key areas. To begin with, authorities will take a look at specific shareholders, including Lawrence Ho, Geoff Davis, Stephanie Cheung, Akiko Takahashi, Evan Winkler, and Clarence Chung and whether these individuals can legally own a licensed property as per the Australian Casino Control Act.
This has specifically to do with a Crown license agreement dated back to 2014 for a property in Bangaroo, Sydney. Authorities will perform a very thorough background check into the individuals, determining their ties with potentially dangerous individuals.
Overall, the investigation will be important for several reasons, specifically because Crown is accused of knowingly flouting gambling laws, which may endanger its license. Plus, the Crown’s Commission is only one of many to now be launching investigations.
While the NSW has given no deadline for the completion of the investigation, authorities are hoping to have it done sooner rather than later. Delays will potentially impact the price of the shares, which is not ideal for either party.
Crown is also question over links with junket operators, which have been gathering the wrath of authorities in Beijing. Amid the investigation, Lawrence Ho has said that his business ventures had no relation to his father, who is cited as the pioneer in the Macau gaming industry.
Should Crown be found guilty, the operator may face tough regulatory fines as well as license suspension. Crown has denied all wrong doing for the time being and so has Melco.