A meeting of Crown shareholders to vote on the company’s proposed acquisition by The Blackstone Group has been postponed by almost a month with the US private equity firm yet to receive approvals from state regulators.
Crown told the ASX on Tuesday that, “while good progress has been made [by Blackstone] in obtaining the gaming regulatory approvals required … those approvals have not yet been obtained by Blackstone.” As such, a scheme meeting originally scheduled for 29 April 2022 has been rescheduled to 20 May 2022.
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the proposed acquisition has already been approved by the Australian government’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
Crown continues to urge its shareholders to agree to Blackstone’s proposal to acquire all shares in the Australian casino giant for AU$8.9 billion (US$6.5 billion), equivalent to AU$13.10 per share.
Blackstone already holds a 9.99% stake in Crown which it acquired from Melco Resorts & Entertainment in April 2020. Melco had purchased the 9.99% stake from James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings a year earlier but backed out of a deal to purchase a second tranche after regulators in New South Wales launched an independent inquiry, which in February 2021 ultimately led to the NSW regulator finding Crown unsuitable to hold a NSW casino license.
Blackstone was one of two major international investment groups to express an interest in Crown in 2021, the other being Oaktree Capital Management, while rival casino operator Star Entertainment Group withdrew a merger proposal in July.