American investment equity giant Oaktree Capital Management LP has reportedly slightly improved its earlier offer for the 37% shareholding in Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Limited.
According to separate reports from the Reuters and Forbes news services, the New York-listed investor offered to pay almost $2.31 in April for the considerable stake in Crown Resorts Limited currently held by the Consolidated Press Holdings Proprietary Limited (CPHPL) vehicle of company founder James Packer (pictured).
However, the news services reported that the Los Angeles-headquartered financial services behemoth has now returned to up its bid for the same shareholding to approximately $2.38 billion with some $1.53 billion of this cash set to come in the form of a private loan. The sources detailed that the plan moreover calls for the remaining $845 million of the proposition to be converted into new shares in Crown Resorts Limited with an individual price-tag set at around $9.98.
Crown Resorts Limited is responsible for the giant Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne properties but was reportedly thrown into turmoil earlier this year when the gaming regulator for the state of New South Wales refused to grant it a license for its new Crown Sydney development. The snub regarding this $1.5 billion Sydney property purportedly came after an official investigation from the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority determined that the Melbourne-headquartered company could have been complicit in a slew of money laundering offences tied to its previous use of foreign junket firms.
This unfavorable determination prompted officials in Western Australia and Victoria to each launch analogous probes with Crown Resorts Limited now reportedly facing the real prospect of having all of its gambling licenses in Australia either revoked or placed under serious limitations. Such a possibility purportedly prompted Oaktree Capital Management LP to lodge its opening bid only a month after rival investor The Blackstone Group Incorporated had floated a $6.2 billion all-cash offer for the around 89.11% shareholding in the casino firm it doesn’t already control.
To further complicate matters and New York-headquartered The Blackstone Group Incorporated, which is the world’s largest private equity firm, reportedly returned last month to improve its initial bid by $400 million after rival casino operator The Star Entertainment Group Limited had thrown its hat into the ring via a $9.4 billion merger proposition. Although Crown Resorts Limited has yet to make a determination on any of these propositions, any such buy-out could purportedly go a long way towards helping the firm to smooth its future path with Australia’s various state regulators.