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Federal Court of Australia approves AU$8.87bn Blackstone-Crown deal

| By Robert Fletcher
Federal Court of Australia today (15 June) approved the pending acquisition of land-based operator Crown Resorts by SS Silver, an entity owned by funds managed or advised by private equity giant Blackstone.

The approval all but clears the way for the acquisition to complete, with Crown expected to now lodge an office copy of the orders with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), at which time the scheme arrangement for the deal will become legally effective.

Crown will also request that quotation of its shares on the ASX be suspended from close of trading today. 

Subject to the scheme becoming legally effective, Crown shareholders will be paid $13.10 cash per Crown share upon the implementation date of the scheme, which is expected to take place on 24 June.

This payment is in line with the terms of the acquisition offer, which is approximately AU$8.87bn (£5.10bn/€5.87bn/US$6.12bn) and was accepted by Crown’s board in January this year after an earlier bid of $8,.02bn was rejected in March last year.

The initial 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 Crown had engaged in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” conduct.

The acquisition deal also required a series of other approvals in order to proceed, including from regional authorities in New South WalesVictoria and Western Australia, all of which were secured in recent weeks.

Last month, the majority of shareholders in Crown Resorts voted in favour of the takeover. Of the shareholders that were present and voting 92.05% were in favour of the deal, and 99.91% of the votes cast by shareholders backed the acquisition.

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