Crown plays weak hand against Blackstone

2 minute read

The logo of Australia's top casino operator Crown Resorts adorns a fence surrounding the Crown Perth hotel and casino complex in Western Australia, October 20, 2016. Picture taken October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Bunch

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

HONG KONG, Dec 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Embattled casino operator Crown Resorts (CWN.AX) is trying to keep a poker face. It says Blackstone’s (BX.N) $6.2 billion offer read more isn’t “compelling”, but will give the buyout shop a peek inside. The more constructive conversation suggests there may be a deal to be struck.

After two years of scrutiny and multiple public investigations, Crown has fewer secrets to share. A Royal Commission report released in October ran to nearly 700 pages, and a separate one in February was even longer. There are unlikely to be any shockers that prompt Blackstone to substantially sweeten the pot. It’s the only game in town, with other suitors having folded for now. And the shares, which are being propped up by the takeover bid, are trading at around a 12% discount to the A$12.50 offer price.

New boss Steve McCann may be able to squeeze a bit more out of Blackstone, but unless he has an ace up his sleeve he risks misplaying a weak hand. (By Katrina Hamlin)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Follow @Breakingviews on Twitter

Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:

Volkswagen channels its inner Henry Ford read more

Turkey spends money it doesn’t have read more

Bondholder rejection forces China developer’s hand read more

Salesforce and Twitter, together again read more

Lundin Energy sale would be better than a merger read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Editing by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Thomas Shum

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

More from Reuters