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Crown Resorts pushes back vote on Blackstone takeover bid

| By Marese O'Hagan
Crown Resorts has postponed a scheme meeting relating to investment business Blackstone’s takeover of the company, as the private equity giant has not yet received all of the necessary approvals.

At the scheme meeting, Crown shareholders can cast their vote for or against the acquisition.

The meeting was set to take place at 10am Melbourne time on 29 April, but will now take place at 10am Melbourne time on 20 May. Shareholders can also vote by proxy before 10am Melbourne time on 18 May.

In a statement, Crown explained that Blackstone had not yet received all gaming regulatory approvals necessary under the scheme implementation deed, which led to the decision to postpone the meeting.

In March Crown released a scheme document ahead of the meeting, which detailed why Crown shareholders may wish to vote in favour of, or against, the acquisition.

Along with the publication of the document Crown urged shareholders to support the deal, warning that they could risk “the uncertainties and risks associated with an ongoing investment in the Crown business or assets”.

This same message, asking shareholders to vote in favour of the deal, was reiterated today (26 April) with the announcement of the scheme meeting postponement.

Crown’s business dealings have been subject to a number of recent inquiries. In February 2021, Crown was deemed unsuitable to operate a casino in Barangaroo, Sydney, after an investigation uncovered evidence of money laundering in its facilities.

Later in the year Crown was also ruled as unsuitable to operate a casino in Victoria, with an investigation ruling that Crown had engaged in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” conduct.

Similarly, in February 2022, Crown was found to be ineligible to operate its casino in Perth.

Blackstone first submitted a bid of AUS$8.02bn (£4.47bn/€5.21bn/US$6.19bn) to acquire Crown in 2021.

This was rejected, and Blackstone raised the bid to AUS$8.87bn. This was approved unanimously by the Crown board.

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