James Packer Cashes in A$500 Million after Latest Melco Crown Shares Selldown

Australian businessman James Packer collected almost A$600 million last week after selling subordinated notes to local casino operator Crown Resorts and receiving dividend and special payment from the company’s selldown of its international business.

Mr. Packer is a Director at the developer and operator of casino resorts and its largest shareholder.

Local media has reported that the businessman sold one million subordinated notes to Crown Resorts at a price of A$101.58 each, thus collecting A$101.5 million. The notes in question have been issued by Crown Resorts since 2012 at a price of A$100 each.

The Australian business magnate also received A$489 million in a A$0.3 dividend and a A$0.8 special payment after the recent sale of shares in Melco Crown Entertainment.

Crown Resorts announced last year that it would reduce its stake in its joint venture with Hong Kong developer Melco International Development and that it would focus on its domestic business. Following that announcement, the Australian operator conducted a series of selldowns until it brought its stake in Melco Crown in just 11.2%. As a result, Crown Resorts’ partner in the venture has obtained majority ownership.

Since established, Melco Crown has developed and operated integrated casino resorts in Macau and the Philippines. It has recently become known that the casino operator is set to undergo a rebrand to Melco Resorts and Entertainment to distance itself from its Crown past and mark a new era in its development.

The proposed change of name is subject to shareholders’ approval and is expected to be voted on at the end of March, when an annual general meeting is to take place.

Crown Resorts had also scrapped plans for the development of a casino resort in Las Vegas. Many attributed the company’s change of mind to plug money into international development projects to the detention of 18 of its employees in China.

Last fall, Crown Resorts staff members were arrested for allegedly promoting gambling services to potential VIP players in Mainland China. Casino gambling is illegal in the country, with Macau being the only exception, and so is the promotion of this type of activities.

The scandal saw Crown Resorts VIP revenue at its Australian properties drop significantly. As a result, the company reported almost a 10% decrease in half-year profit.

The operator currently manages the Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne integrated resorts. A third Australian casino property – Crown Sydney – is under development and is slated for 2021 opening.

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