US giant Hard Rock flatly denies it is planning a takeover play for The Star

US giant Hard Rock flatly denies it is planning a takeover play for The Star

Photo via Queen's Wharf Facebook

Hard Rock International has firmly hosed down rumours that it is part of a consortium planning a takeover of The Star Entertainment Group (ASX: SGR).

The official denial, issued overnight by the US-based casino, hospitality and hotels group, follows a statement issued by The Star yesterday that implied Hard Rock was part of a consortium looking to secure a “potential transaction” with the Australian casino operator.

“We want to make it clear that Hard Rock International is not involved in, nor has it authorised, any discussions, activities or negotiations on its behalf in connection with a proposed bid for Star,” says Hard Rock.

“Hard Rock International has similarly not authorised the use of the Hard Rock brand in connection with any proposed bid for Star by any third party.”

The denial has stirred confusion around The Star’s statement yesterday that described the consortium of investors as a group that included Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts (Pacific), which The Star said it understood to be a local partner of Hard Rock.

But the US company has vehemently hit back at this claim, even suggesting that its brand may have been misused.

“Our brand is built on a legacy of integrity, excellence, and a commitment to our guests, partners, and team members worldwide,” says Hard Rock.

“Any misuse of the Hard Rock name in unauthorised business dealings is taken very seriously. We are currently investigating this matter and will pursue all necessary legal actions to protect our brand and reputation.”

Hard Rock has urged stakeholders and the public to “rely only on official communications from Hard Rock International for accurate information regarding our business activities and partnerships”.

The Star this morning offered a muted response to the Hard Rock statement although it failed to clarify the situation. The company reiterated that it had not received any proposal directly from Hard Rock International.

"The Star confirms that it has not engaged in substantive discussions with the consortium in respect of its proposal," says The Star. 

The company simply notes the statement issued by Hard Rock International overnight "which clarifies that Hard Rock International is not involved in, nor has it authorised, any discussions, activities or negotiations on its behalf in connection with a proposal for The Star".

Yesterday’s initial statement from The Star was in response to media speculation that a potential takeover or recapitalisation plan may be on the cards for the embattled casino group amid a second Bell inquiry to determine its suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW.

News of a potential transaction led to a sharp rise in The Star’s shares which closed 20 per cent higher at 54c.

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