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Australia – Blackstone buys 9.9 per cent shareholding in Crown Resorts from Melco

By - 29 April 2020

US private equity investment company The Blackstone Group has bought a 9.9 per cent shareholding in Australian casino group in Crown Resorts from Melco Resorts & Entertainment for around $550m.

Melco said the sale was ‘an opportunity for the group to realise its investment in Crown Resorts at a market price,’ and to ease financial pressure on its core casinos during the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ken Caplan, Blackstone’s global co-head of real estate, said: “This was an opportunity that really played to our strengths. By investing capital, bringing our expertise and experience in the lodging space, we created something very special.”

The deal sees the completion of Melco’s U-turn on Crown with the Asian operating force at one poised for a $1.76bn investment into Crown, which would have given Melco CEO Lawrence Ho a 20 per cent stake in the company.

The Blackstone Group has been steadily growing its interests in the gaming industry having bought The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas in 2014, alongside a share in the real estate assets of the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. Blackstone has also bought Clarion Gaming, organiser of the gaming industry’s biggest exhibition, ICE, Spanish casino, bingo and betting operator Cirsa, Ukrainian social casino games developer Murka and has a shareholding in Romanian betting company Superbet.

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