James Packer's $10b casino deal with Las Vegas gambling giant falls through


News of Wynn's approach sent Crown shares surging more than 20 per cent on Tuesday, adding as much as $800 million to Mr Packer's holding in the company, which owns Perth's Burswood casino and hotel complex on the banks of the Swan River.

Wynn operates a casino in Las Vegas, two in Macau (where Crown had a stake in a casino before selling out) and is building another in Boston. The AU$10 billion ($7.1 billion) offer, which if brought to closure would be one the most massive acquisition deals in the Australian gambling industry, was scrapped suddenly after media leaks. "Before he succeeded Steve Wynn in February 2018, Maddox had been the company's president since 2013 and Wynn's right-hand man", adding that it's "hard to believe that Maddox, given his role as corporate consigliere, was completely in the dark".

That offer would have valued Crown at around $10bn.

"At this point, there's no guarantee that any potential discussion around the deal will not resurface", Umansky said in a note after Wynn's termination announcement.

The Las Vegas gambling giant pulled the plug on its cash-and-scrip proposal less than a day after the deal became public, prompting Crown shares to give up nearly half the 20 per cent they gained on news of the initial talks. Instead of keeping any details confidential, however, Crown Resorts confirmed the rumour and even disclosed Wynn's proposed price.

DeCree also suggested that Wynn's move could be a means of staving off any potential of being acquired itself after Macau's Galaxy Entertainment Group purchased a 4.9% stake in the company in the wake of the Steve Wynn scandal past year.

"I was surprised and the U.S. folks were surprised", the person said.

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It has a market cap of just over $US15 billion or just over $A21 billion, so paying just over $A10 billion for Crown is a big risk.

Wynn Resorts runs several casinos in the United States and Macau. And they're all fiercely competing for an operating license in Japan, the region's next gambling goldmine.

A Wynn spokesman declined to comment.

On Wednesday's open, Crown shares then pared some losses to trade 8.5% under Tuesday's closing price, while the broader market fell 0.1%.

"I think Steve Wynn is the greatest developer in the world", Packer said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review in 2012, and he was reported to have attended Wynn's wedding in 2011.

In a separate note, Morgan Stanley analysts suggested that Crown's assets would potentially fit snugly into the Wynn Resorts portfolio.

Wynn Resorts has removed its security chief after he acknowledged spying on employees following allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn.