This merger would result in significant scale and diversification and unlock an estimated $2 billion in net value from synergies
Australian casino operator, The Star Entertainment Group – which owns casinos in Sydney and Queensland – is seeking to merge with James Packer’s Crown Resorts, proposing a $12 billion mega-casino merger that would see Crowns' shareholders receive Star shares' and/or cash for their stock.
The proposal by Star Entertainment Group would retain an Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listing for the combined entities. Crown currently trades with an $8.2 billion market cap, while Star has a much smaller cap at $3.72 billion.
The Star Entertainment Group has offered 2.68 of its shares for every Crown share, with a cash alternative of $12.50 per Crown share for up to 25 per cent of the company’s capital.
The combined group would own six resorts, including flagship casinos in Sydney, Melbourne, Western Australia, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Although both companies were in talks in the past regarding a merger, the boards had challenges on how the deal would go through due to the fact that they are strong competitors.
In the filing to the ASX, the chairman of Star, John O’Neill believes that merging with Crown would offer a strong value proposition by creating a national tourism and entertainment leader, delivering between $150 million and $200 million per annum with enhanced products, services and experiences for its guests.
"A merger of The Star and Crown would result in significant scale and diversification and unlock an estimated $2 billion in net value from synergies," O’Neill said.
"With a portfolio of world-class properties across four States in Australia's most attractive and populated catchment areas and tourism hubs, the combined group would be a compelling investment proposition and one of the largest and most attractive integrated resort operators in the Asia Pacific region” he added.
Crown’s board has yet to form a view on the proposal, with the deal still subject to approval by the shareholders, regulators and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
In the 2H FY2021 report released on May 6, Star Entertainment Group announced that its domestic gaming revenue has risen by 37% for the period between Jan 1 and May 3 and group revenue in total by 35%. The same period of the prior year had been dragged down in revenue heavily due to property closures in March as counter-Covid measures.
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