Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Delisting Crown Resorts is not in the cards for Packer: report

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Delisting Crown Resorts is not in the cards for Packer: report

Keep calm investors, billionaire James Packer isn’t pulling out Crown Resorts Ltd. from the Australian Stock Exchange anytime soon.

Delisting Crown Resorts is not in the cards for Packer: reportOn Wednesday, a Reuters source doused speculations that the world’s No.7 casino company will become private following Packer’s exit in March.

Packer had been toying with the idea of taking the Crown Resorts private since he first quit the $6.7 billion company in 2015. However, Packer set aside the idea as the company decided to expand Crown’s business portfolio overseas.

A lot of things happened in between 2015 and 2018, including Packer’s complete retreat from Asia and the company’s global expansion plans as a result of the arrests of Crown Resorts staffers in China. By early 2018, Packer found himself back in Crown board—and so is the idea to make Crown Resorts private.

Things, however, didn’t go smoothly in Australia as Packer had hoped for. By the time he returned to the Crown Resorts board, Crown Melbourne is already being investigated by Australian gambling watchdog Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) over allegations that it allowed the tampering of pokies machines.

An unnamed fund manager, who sold Crown Resorts shares just before Packer stepped down from the board for the second time, believes that the Australian billionaire will not take the casino company on the delisting route.

For one, the source pointed out that Packer doesn’t want to borrow money to repurchase the 54 percent of Crown shares he no longer owns.

“It would be another A$5 billion ($3.9 billion) or A$6 billion and that’s a hell of a lot of money,” the fund manager said, according to the news outlet.

Recent appointments in the Crown Resorts board are also indications that Crown Resorts will not pull out from the Australian bourse, according to the report. Most of the appointees in Crown Resorts board are either close allies or former government officials, which is an indication that Packer wants the company to remain public but be conservatively managed, according to the source.

With a triennial license review in Melbourne just a few months away, the source said Packer will rely on the roster of ex-government leaders in Crown Resorts board to “do whatever it takes” to ensure that the casino operator is “squeaky clean.”

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