Australia's Crown Resorts offered $2.3 billion to buyout James Packer

FILE PHOTO: Crown Resorts Ltd’s flagship tower nears completion at Barangaroo, Sydney, Australia, April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Coates/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) – Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd said on Monday it will assess a A$3 billion ($2.32 billion) offer by U.S. private equity firm Oaktree Capital to buy James Packer’s 37% stake in the casino operator.

Packer’s influence on the company he founded came under intense scrutiny in a state inquiry last year that led to Crown’s flagship Sydney casino losing its licence.

The reclusive billionaire earlier this month indicated he was open to selling his stake as part of a A$8 billion takeover bid by Blackstone Group Inc that would see him pocket around A$2.9 billion.

“The Crown Board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the Oaktree proposal,” Crown said in a statement. “It will now commence a process to assess the Oaktree proposal.”

Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), Packer’s private company that holds the Crown stake, Blackstone and Oaktree did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The New South Wales state gaming regulator, which has the authority to restore Crown’s Sydney casino licence, recently reached a deal with CPH that would scale back Packer’s influence over Crown.

($1 = 1.2952 Australian dollars)

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