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Star Entertainment Submits Proposal to Merge with Crown Resorts

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Star Entertainment Submits Proposal to Merge with Crown Resorts
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Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has submitted a conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal to merge with Crown Resorts.

According to details released via the ASX, the proposal values Crown’s shares in excess of AU$14 per share – exceeding the value put forward by competing bids in recent weeks which value Crown at closer to AU$12 per share.

Those competing bids include a revised offer from American multinational private equity and hedge fund giant The Blackstone Group, received over the weekend, which increases its bid from an original AU$11.85 per share to AU$12.35 per share.

US global asset management firm Oaktree Capital Management L.P. has also proposed a AU$3 billion offer to acquire the 37% stake in Crown currently held by James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings.

However, Star has outlined its case for a merger, with the offer representing a share exchange ratio of 2.68 The Star shares per Crown share with a cash alternative of AU$12.50 per Crown share for up to 25% of Crown’s issued share capital.

“Based on recent trading values of The Star and the substantial value that would be unlocked by a merger, The Star estimates its pro forma share price to be more than AU$5 per share, implying potential value of the Scrip Consideration in excess of AU$14 per Crown share,” it said.

The Star said it believes a merger represents a “compelling value proposition for all shareholders by creating a national tourism and entertainment leader with a world-class portfolio of integrated resorts with enhanced scale and geographic earnings diversification, significant balance sheet strength and free cash flow generation.”

It would also allow for AU$150 million to AU$200 million in cost synergies per annum with an estimated net value of AU$2 billion.

“A merger of The Star and Crown would result in significant scale and diversification and unlock an estimated AU$2 billion in net value from synergies,” Star Chairman John 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.”

According to Star, a merger would also open the door for potential sale and leaseback opportunities on some of the group’s enhanced property portfolio – leaving the door open for the likes of Blackstone and Oaktree to acquire assets in the future.

Crown said it has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposal and will commence an assessment process on its merits.

Australia

Star Acting Chief Executive Hogg Resigns

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Star Acting Chief Executive Hogg Resigns
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Geoff Hogg has tendered his resignation as Acting CEO of The Star Entertainment Group.

The operator’s board has accepted his resignation, which includes all Hogg’s other positions at The Star. A final departure date is yet to be determined, while he will work with the board to transition his executive responsibilities in an orderly manner.

Ben Heap has been appointed to the role of Executive Chairman on an interim basis, effective immediately and until the commencement of Robbie Cooke as the incoming Managing Director and CEO.

Cooke, currently serving as Managing Director of Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) machine provider Tyro Payments, was named as the new CEO of The Star in June, but a start date has yet to be finalised.

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Australia

ACMA Blocks More Illegal Offshore Gambling Websites

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The ACMA has requested that Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites include Spin Oasis, Fab Spins, RB Carnival, The GoGo Room, Velvet Spin, Zenith Slots, Slots of Wins, Latinbet24, Hell Spin, Sky Crown, Blue Leo, Wolf Winner, Bizzo Casino, Wabo88 and Ozbet88.

The ACMA investigated and found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 614 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked.

Over 180 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.

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Australia

IAGR ANNOUNCES DIGITAL TICKET TO UPCOMING CONFERENCE

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IAGR ANNOUNCES DIGITAL TICKET TO UPCOMING CONFERENCE
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IAGR looks forward to welcoming around 200 international gambling regulators, industry stakeholders and thought leaders to Melbourne for its conference, A Kickstart for collaboration: Sparking innovation in regulatory practice, from 17 – 20 October.

To extend the reach of the content to regulators who can’t make it to Australia, IAGR has created a ticket to access the recordings from the conference.

IAGR2022’s digital ticket provides one year’s access to the recordings. IAGR President, Dr Jason Lane, says that this way, attendees can watch the content in their time zone as many times as they like.

“For last year’s conference, we had little choice but to create a digital ticket, given so many of us were unable to travel,” says Dr Lane.

“This year, while we’re thrilled to see in-person ticket sales return to pre-pandemic numbers, we still want to offer the opportunity for as many regulators as possible to access the fantastic sessions we have lined up for Melbourne.

This year’s conference features around 40 speakers and panelists, including:

  • Andrew Rhodes, CEO, Gambling Commission United Kingdom
  • Professor Sally Gainsbury, Director, Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney
  • Michael Morton, Senior Policy Counsel, Nevada Gaming Control Board
  • Fran Thorn, Chair, Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission
  • Are Bashir, Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority

“Your ticket to IAGR2022, whether you watch the recorded sessions or attend in the flesh, allows you to step back and hear from expert speakers and panel discussions on the latest research, trends, and innovative solutions.”

Head to the IAGR conference page to explore the conference program and secure a ticket.

IAGR is proud to hold this year’s conference in partnership with hosts, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

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