Crown Shareholders Unanimously Approve $8.9 Billion Takeover Bid by Blackstone

Daniel Williams

Crown’s feature is getting one step closer to private equity ownership as shareholders of the company unanimously gave their approval to an $8.9 billion takeover offer made by Blackstone. The bid, which was estimated to be worth $13.10 per share, was approved at a shareholders’ meeting held on Friday, said people familiar with the case.

While the majority of the shareholders agreed on the takeover offer, some 201 shareholders of the gambling juggernaut showed disapproval of the bid. They, however, represent barely 0.08% of Crown’s shareholders.

Blackstone’s Takeover Bid Yet to be Approved by Court and Australian Gaming Authorities

Before the takeover is official, the bid must be approved by the court and gambling regulatory bodies in WA, Victoria and NSW. According to Crown, the court hearing for Blackstone’s bid will be held on May 24. The approval by the Australian gambling authorities, however, is not expected earlier than June.

Following a series of inquiries, Crown’s reputation took several major hits due to multiple failures in the management and operations of the company. That leaves Blackstone with the challenging task of restoring Crown’s image once the takeover is complete.

Originally, the scheme meeting was supposed to be held earlier but Crown decided to postpone it last month. The gaming giant claimed that the reason for this decision was Blackstone not being able to obtain all necessary approvals, despite its progress in receiving the approval of gaming regulators.

During the meeting on Friday, the chairman of the huge gambling company, Ziggy Switkowski, noted the vote of shareholders marked a major point in Crown’s history. At the meeting, directors of the company advised shareholders to show support for Blackstone’s offer.

Crown Directors Strongly Support Blackstone’s Offer

At the meeting, Switkowski assured shareholders that Crown’s directors have taken into consideration the most recent issues of the company and are making sure to take actions that will cater to the interest of Crown’s shareholders. While Switkowski reported that there were plenty of reasons to vote for the takeover, as well as against it, directors believed the reasons to support the bid prevail over the reasons to disapprove of the takeover scheme.

According to advisory firm Grant Samuel, which was an independent expert hired by Crown, the Blackstone offer was determined to be fair. This was determined taking into consideration the underlying value of Crown’s shares, which were estimated to be worth between $12.52 and $14.18 per share. The said value was determined without the adjustment for any liabilities.

Switkowski also said that Crown has been informed that Blackstone is in the middle of ongoing consultations with regulators in WA, Victoria, and NSW to determine the terms and conditions of the approvals of said regulatory authorities. The final stage of the process might be reached in June.

If Blackstone’s takeover offer is approved by investors, Crown can be removed from the ASX as soon as May 25. When the takeover is complete, billionaire James Packer, who is the biggest shareholder of Crown and the company’s founder, will end up with the sum of roughly $3.3 billion.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez