Crown Casino has been under fire since an investigation into alleged money laundering and infiltration of organised crime at its NSW and QLD casinos. Crown has been running under The Star Entertainment Group.
Crown has not lost its licensing but it has now a government-appointed interim CEO board member at its Melbourne based headquarters. This measure is in place for 2 years while the investigations are ongoing. The Star still has a case to answer in Western Australia. Jane Halton is the CEO and has veto powers.
While being placed under these conditions, The Star has been trying to sell off shares.
Blackstone, an equity firm group in the U.S. has placed 3 bids on buying out The Star. The first 2 bids were knocked back due to low offers and was not fair to shareholders. There is a current offer of $8.5b. Blackstone are already the largest stakeholder with 10% invested into The Star Entertainment group. Under the Victorian commission laws that were imposed on Crown, James Packer would have to sell off most of his shares while only holding onto 5% to keep the regulation committee from shutting down the casinos and cancelling its license.
Blackstone have just been handed some exclusive access to non-public information so their bid could be higher. It might even be able to sell off parts of the Casino and its real estate to make for more of an enticing offer.
With Crown members of the board having a strategy meeting in early December, they are looking for more than the $8.5b buy out.
Until the court cases have been settled in Western Australia and interviews with executives about their knowledge of money laundering completed, buyouts seem unlikely.
Blackstone is a private investment firm, which was formed by former Blackrock founder Stephen Schwarzman.
Jane Halton, current interim CEO board of directors for Crown Casino is the appointed government official. She has a long history of being a Public servant. She also was a private employee for ANZ bank.