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Crown shareholders back acquisition by Blackstone

| By Robert Fletcher
The majority of shareholders in Crown Resorts have voted in favour of a takeover of the business by SS Silver, an entity owned by funds managed or advised by private equity giant Blackstone.

At a meeting held earlier today (20 May), some 92.05% of shareholders present and voting were in favour of the acquisition, and 99.91% of the votes cast by shareholders were in favour of the acquisition.

This vote had been due to take place on 26 April but was postponed as Blackstone had not received all of the relevant regulatory approvals.

While Blackstone is yet to secure full regulatory approval, Crown has scheduled a court hearing for approval of the scheme on 24 May. However, as regulatory approvals are not expected to be finalised by this date, Crown will request an adjournment until 6 June to allow Blackstone more time.

If the court approves the deal, a copy of the court orders will be lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, after which the scheme will become legally effective and Crown shares will be suspended from trading on the ASX.

Subject to all conditions being satisfied, it is expected that the scheme will be implemented on the seventh business day following the date on which the scheme becomes effective. At this time, Crown Shareholders will be paid their scheme consideration.

Blackstone first submitted a bid of AUS$8.02bn (£4.63bn/€5.33bn/US$5.64bn) to acquire Crown in 2021. This initial bid was rejected but after Blackstone raised the bid to $8.87bn, this was unanimously approved by the Crown board.

The offer came at a time when Crown was faced with a number of 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.

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