James Packer is set to pocket $3

James Packer is set to pocket $3.26 billion and walk away from Crown Resorts after the casino group accepted an offer to sell its Australian operations to a US private equity firm.

The deal worth a total of about $8.9 billion would see Mr Packer end his association with the company he spent the past two decades building into a gaming and entertainment powerhouse.

While the sale remains subject to shareholder approval, the deal will see US firm Blackstone take over Crown Resorts’ flagship property, the new hotel and casino at Barangaroo in Sydney, plus the company’s resort in . 

Crown Chair Ziggy Switkowski said the board unanimously recommended Blackstone’s offer, subject to certain conditions including that no better offer emerged. 

Mr Packer, who still owns 37 per cent of Crown Resorts, will secure a $3.26 billion windfall if the sale of Crown Resorts proceeds

Mr Packer, who still owns 37 per cent of Crown Resorts, will secure a $3.26 billion windfall if the sale of Crown Resorts proceeds

James Packer and Kylie Lim pictured at Club 55 beach in St Tropez, France in 2018. The mogul will walk away from Crown Resorts after two decades building the company if the sale with Blackstone is approved

James Packer and Kylie Lim pictured at Club 55 beach in St Tropez, France in 2018.The mogul will walk away from Crown Resorts after two decades building the company if the sale with Blackstone is approved 

Mr Packer's Australian operations of Crown have been beset by inquiries into allegations of money laundering by international criminal syndicates

Mr Packer’s Australian operations of Crown have been beset by inquiries into allegations of money laundering by international criminal syndicates

Crown has entered into a binding agreement with Blackstone but the deal is also subject to approval by gaming regulators in each state in which Crown operates and the Foreign Investment Review Board. 

It follows Blackstone offering $13.10 per share cash for the company in January.

Crown Resorts boss Steve McCann told an investor teleconference that Blackstone had been gauging regulators’ support for the takeover.

‘[Blackstone] has had discussions over a bit of time with the various regulators and we’re not aware of any concerns,’ he said.

Mr Packer, who still owns 37 per cent of Crown Resorts, will secure a $3.26 billion windfall if the sale proceeds.   

The company’s gambling licence at Barangaroo is currently suspended after a public inquiry found it was unfit to run a casino.

The regulator’s decision followed evidence heard at the inquiry in 2021 that Crown had been used by criminal syndicates and money laundering operations. 

Crown Resorts' gambling licence at Barangaroo is currently suspended after a public inquiry in 2021 found it was unfit to run a casino following claims of money laundering and infiltration by criminal syndicates

Crown Resorts’ gambling licence at Barangaroo is currently suspended after a public inquiry in 2021 found it was unfit to run a casino following claims of money laundering and infiltration by criminal syndicates

Mr Packer resigned as Executive Chairman of Crown Resorts in March 2018 and the following year sold a 20 per cent stake in the company to Melco Resorts & Entertainment for $1.76 billion.

The deal with Lawrence Ho, Mr Packer’s former joint venture partner in Melco Crown Entertainment, became the subject of an inquiry into Crown by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

The sale had occurred when Mr Ho was forbidden from involvement with Crown as a result of earlier deals with his father, Stanley Ho.

Crown has entered into a binding agreement with US private equity firm Blackstone but the deal is subject to approval by gaming regulators in each state in which Crown operates and a shareholder vote in coming months

Crown has entered into a binding agreement with US private equity firm Blackstone but the deal is subject to approval by gaming regulators in each state in which Crown operates and a shareholder vote in coming months

In October 2021, Victoria’s Royal Commission into operations at Crown Melbourne found that the casino was unsuitable to hold the city’s Live Casino licence because it had engaged in conduct that is ‘illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative’.

The casino was nevertheless permitted to continue its operations because ‘immediate cancellation of Crown’s licence would cause considerable harm to the Victorian economy and innocent third parties’. 

The Royal Commission also found the casino had commenced a significant reform program led by people of ‘good will and skill’ that was likely to save up to 12,000 jobs.

In March 2021, Western Australia also announced a Royal Commission into the operations of the company's Perth resort and casino (pictured)

In March 2021, Western Australia also announced a Royal Commission into the operations of the company’s Perth resort and casino (pictured)

In March 2021, Western Australia also announced a Royal Commission into the operations of the company’s Perth resort and casino, including the possibility international criminal organisations had laundered money through the venue.

The Commission is inquiring into the suitability of Crown Perth to continue holding a casino gaming licence, with a final report due in March. 

Its interim report in August 2021 expressed concern about possible conflicts of interest, including evidence that the government bureaucrat who oversaw the casino’s operations regularly went on weekend fishing trips with a senior Crown executive.  

Mr McCann said the price of $13.10 per share reflected the value of Crown’s assets and its global reputation for premium service and experiences.

‘The agreement with Blackstone also highlights the strength of the Crown brand and confidence in our future as we emerge from some challenging times,’ he said.

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-93dc7240-8d2f-11ec-bc9e-37031fbe7a9a" website Packer&apos;s huge payday as Crown is sold to foreign owners

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