James Packer Discusses Potential Crown Resorts Sale With Sheldon Adelson
Billionaire James Packer and ex-chairman of Crown Resorts Australia has spent the majority of 2020 on his $200 million yacht, staying away from the public eye as much as possible. His seclusion isn’t entirely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crown Resorts has been hit with multiple controversies and investigations in 2020 as the NSW gaming regulator and the Victorian gaming regulator have launched investigations into Crown Resort’s many failures.
Some of these failures include deliberate engagement in money laundering practices, non-compliance of gaming laws and having ties to individuals who are connected with criminal syndicates. The NSW investigation is expected to be finished first followed by the Victorian investigation.
Given the seriousness of these breaches, both investigations might recommend Crown Resorts handing over the ownership and management of its casinos to another casino operator.
Australian media reported a rather quiet meeting between two casino billionaires. Packer is reported to have held talks with Las Vegas Sands Corp chairman and billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The talks were supposed to take place under the radar literally but it is hard not to notice two multi-million dollar yachts parked next to each other.
During the end of 2020, Sheldon Adelson’s yacht was anchored alongside Packer’s yacht. Media reports suggest that the two parties exchanged tenders. It is quite possible that Packer is planning to offload his nearly 37 percent share of Crown Resorts to Sands Corp.
When news of this meeting broke in the media, Crown Resort’s shares spiked by 3 percent. However, Crown Resorts was quick to deny the rumours claiming that there were no talks of a potential sale in the pipeline.
Crown Resorts has been prevented from opening the casino part of its Crown Barangaroo casino in Sydney, NSW which cost the company A$2.2 billion to develop. If the investigation prevents Crown Resorts from operating the casino, Crown will want to be in a position to quickly facilitate a change in ownership.
Will Sands Corp Enter Australia?
Sands Corp. shocked the market towards the end of 2020 when it announced that it was in talks to dispose all of its Las Vegas casinos. Sands Corp. was looking to reduce its presence in the U.S market and strengthen its presence in overseas markets with a special focus on Asia.
We will have to wait and see if Sheldon Adelson is willing to enter Australia and take over the troubled Crown Resorts portfolio.