Blackstone lifts bid by $400m in fourth takeover tilt at Crown Resorts

Blackstone lifts bid by $400m in fourth takeover tilt at Crown Resorts

US-based investment management firm Blackstone is not backing down from its intentions to take over Australian casino and hotel company Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN), today launching its fourth bid to acquire the group .

The new offer values Crown at around $8.9 billion - approximately $400 million more than Blackstone's previous bid and enough for Crown's board to unanimously agree to recommend the deal to shareholders if a binding proposal is made in the absence of a superior offer.

Under the proposal, Blackstone would acquire all CWN shares by way of a scheme of arrangement at a price of $13.10 cash per share, representing an increase of $0.60 cash per share compared to its previous offer price.

According to Crown, Blackstone made the revised proposal after considering non-public information provided by the resorts company during initial due diligence.

“Following consideration of the Revised Proposal, including obtaining advice from its financial and legal advisers, the Crown Board considers that it is in the interests of Crown’s shareholders to engage further with Blackstone on a non-exclusive basis in relation to the Revised Proposal,” Crown said.

“Accordingly, Crown has decided to provide Blackstone with the opportunity to finalise its due diligence inquiries and negotiate the terms of an Implementation Agreement so that Blackstone can put forward a binding offer.

“Should Blackstone make a binding offer at a price of no less than $13.10 cash per share then, subject to the parties entering into a binding Implementation Agreement on terms and conditions acceptable to Crown, it is the Crown Board's current unanimous intention to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the proposal in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an Independent Expert concluding (and continuing to conclude) that the proposed transaction is in the best interests of Crown shareholders.”

Blackstone’s fourth offer is an increase from its $12.50 per share bid launched in November 2021, and two other previous bids of $12.35 per share in May, and $11.85 per share in March.

Both of those offers were rejected on the basis they undervalued the embattled company, which recently had a Victorian Royal Commission determine it engaged in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” conduct at its Melbourne casino and hotel.

Blackstone’s proposal is subject to a number of conditions, including due diligence on Crown, the investment manager receiving approval from its investment committees, and an unanimous CWN board recommendation.

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