HONG KONG (Reuters) - Las Vegas’s Wynn Resorts has made a $7.1 billion takeover offer for Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd, a move to expand its global footprint and hedge against the expiration of its license in Macau.
- Founded in 2002 by Steve Wynn, who started in Las Vegas casinos in the 1960s and created some of the city’s most iconic landmarks – the Mirage, Bellagio and Treasure Island, before selling those.
- Beset by sexual misconduct allegations, Wynn disposed his entire 11.8 percent stake in Wynn Resorts for $2.1 billion last month.
- Wynn Resorts operates large resort-and-casino complexes in Las Vegas and Asian gambling hub Macau, with another under construction in Massachusetts.
- Deal would create a global casino empire, combining the world’s second- and seventh-largest gambling operators, to take on the largest player, Las Vegas Sands Corp.
- Founded in 2007 by James Packer, scion of an Australian business dynasty, when he split the family’s gambling and media assets.
- It withdrew from investments in Macau and Las Vegas in 2017 to focus on hotel-casino complexes in Melbourne and Perth, and another under construction in Sydney.
- Crown also owns Aspinalls, a casino in London’s West End, a fifth of luxury restaurant chain Nobu, and has a modest online betting and gambling division.
- Constrained by space and regulations in Vegas, Crown’s Australian portfolio offers an expansion opportunity which promises exposure to high-rolling Asian gamblers, but also booming domestic and corporate travel.
- Crown’s assets complement Wynn’s similar Vegas and Macau properties, with both companies targeting high-end gamblers and tourists.
- A new market for Wynn also offers a hedge against performance in Vegas and Macau, and some insurance for the possibility its Macau casino license is not renewed in 2022.
- Crown’s top shareholder, Packer, has withdrawn from public corporate life and the deal offers him a chance to cash out his biggest investment for about A$4.7 billion ($3.4 billion).
Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Stephen Coates