Due to uncertainty surrounding the future of Crown Resorts’ casino licence in Melbourne, Star Entertainment Group has withdrawn its offer for the operator.
Australia.- Star Entertainment Group has withdrawn its offer to buy Crown Resorts following suggestions that the operator should lose its casino licence for Crown Melbourne.
In May, Star Entertainment made an unsolicited non-binding offer of AU$12bn (US$9.4bn) for the casino operator. However, Adrian Finanzio, the counsel assisting Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Resorts, has told the inquiry that Crown should lose its Melbourne licence.
Finanzio said that evidence against Crown showed “serious misconduct, illegal conduct and highly inappropriate conduct.”
Star Entertainment said: “Issues raised at Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne have the potential to materially impact the value of Crown, including whether it retains the license to operate its Melbourne casino or the conditions under which its license is retained.”
Although Star Entertainment has withdrawn its offer, it said it would remain open to exploring opportunities with Crown. It said it would continue to closely monitor the Victorian Royal Commission and Western Australian Royal Commission.
Crown shares fell by 1.7 per cent in trading on Wednesday and are down more than 22 per cent since May.
Finanzio told the Royal Commission in Victoria that Crown had put profits above legislative requirements and could owe the state AU$480m (US$351.4m) in unpaid taxes.
He also said that Xavier Walsh, Crown Melbourne’s chief executive, and former executive chairman, Helen Coonan, were not appropriate people to remain connected to the casino operator.
He told former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, who’s leading the inquiry, that if he decides Crown Melbourne should hold its licence, it must be “placed under strict supervision and should not be left to its own devices to implement reform.”