World-renowned gaming and entertainment operator The Star Entertainment Group has recently revealed its plans to buy Crown Resorts Limited, its biggest competitor. This announcement came after the company submitted a conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal to merge which, if successful, will see the creation of Australia’s biggest gambling giant yet with a total of seven properties across four states.
The Star Entertainment Group’s non-binding proposal offers 2.68 Star shares per Crown share – this value Crown shares at above $14. In addition to that, the Crown Resorts shareholders will also be offered the alternative of $12.50 cash per share which would be capped at 25 percent of its shares.
“With a portfolio of world-class properties across four states in Australia’s most attractive and populated catchment areas and tourism hubs, the combined group would be a compelling investment proposition and one of the largest and most attractive integrated resort operators in the Asia Pacific region.”Star chairman John O’Neill.
This merger would, of course, need to be approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The Star Entertainment Group would also need to be approved as a license holder by gambling regulators in the states of Victoria and Western Australia.
A Solution to Crown Resorts Woes?
One of the other notable aspects of the merger proposal is the implication that it could potentially solve Crown Resorts’ ongoing regulatory woes. To begin with, Crown is already unable to begin its gaming operations in Sydney’s harborside Barangaroo district due to governance problems and money-laundering concerns.
This can partly be attributed to the fact the gaming and entertainment operator is currently facing investigation by the royal commission for its practices and compliance with gaming and money laundering laws in Western Australia and Victoria. The investigation in question was triggered by several reports which had found that the company had facilitated money-laundering in company bank accounts linked to Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth.
These reports further revealed that the gaming operator had “gone into business with high-roller tour operators linked to organized crime; and disregarded the welfare of staff who were arrested in China in 2016 for gambling crimes.” Needless to say, these are some pretty significant violations but the company has already taken some steps towards dealing with them. For instance, it is currently undergoing a substantial governance reform.
Perhaps the merger with The Star Entertainment Group will be just what Crown needs to regain its former glory going forward.