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Crown Melbourne shuts as Victoria announces Covid-19 lockdown

| By Robert Fletcher
Australian casino operator Crown Resorts has announced that its Melbourne property will cease all gaming activities until 3 June in line with new state-wide novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions in Victoria.
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Victoria’s government today (27 May) said that the state would enter a week-long “circuit-breaker lockdown” from 11:59pm local time this evening until 3 June, in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.

The latest figures released by the government show 12 new cases of Covid-19 in the state, the highest daily total since 12 October last year.

As such, all non-essential retail will be required to close until the end of the lockdown, with Crown confirming all gaming activities at its Crown Melbourne casino will be halted.

Crown Melbourne will also pause food and beverage, retail, banqueting and conference facilities, though hotel accommodation will continue to be provided for approved purposes.

The closure comes at a time when Crown Resorts is the subject of a takeover proposal from private equity giant Blackstone Group and a merger offer from rival Star Entertainment.

Last week, Crown turned down a revised takeover proposal from Blackstone Group, saying the offer undervalued its business.

Blackstone had offered AUS$12.35 in cash per Crown share, representing a 4% increase on its previous offer of $11.85 per share submitted in March.

However, Crown’s board unanimously concluded that the latest proposal undervalued the business and would not be in the best interest of shareholders.

In regards to the Star Entertainment proposal, Crown said its board had not yet formed a view on the “merits” of the offer, saying it had requested further information from Star “to better understand various preliminary matters”.

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