Shares in the australian casino operator Crown Resorts were favored after the rumor spread that the american company Las Vegas Sands would be interested in acquiring the majority stake owned by James Packer.
Thanks to these rumors, Crown shares saw a rise of almost 3% on monday closing the day at AU $ 9.90. The last time that the australian operator reached this peak was in the summer of 2020, coinciding with the most serious investigations that it has been dragging and involving Parker.
But the company debunked these rumors last week. However, according to a Sydney Morning Herald press release on january 2, Packer’s $ 200 million yacht, where the tycoon remains hidden from COVID-19, has been parked since late last year alongside the president’s superyacht from Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson.
According to the newspaper, there were “tenders between the two vessels coming and going”, which suggested that Adelson would be negotiating the purchase of Parker’s 37% majority stake in Crown. But Packer has dismissed these rumors that the meeting on the ships had to do with the sale of the casino.
However, the speculation surrounding a negotiation is not far-fetched. Sands is considering ditching his Las Vegas properties where Packer previously tried unsuccessfully to establish his casino.
Another element that supports the sale of Parker’s shares in Crown, is his testimony recorded on video as part of the investigation that New South Wales conducts into the serious breaches of compliance at Crown Melbourne. It has since been said that Parker needs to sell his properties in order for Crown to survive this financial and image debacle in New South Wales.
Since opening its doors in late december, the new Crown Sydney casino has been unable to operate. New South Wales regulators are refusing to authorize gambling operations at that property until the final report of the Crown investigation is issued in february.
Furthermore, the current trade conflict between Australia and China will prevent Crown Sydney from being able to attract Chinese VIP players in the near future. Similarly, the Crown in Victoria is going through a similar situation, following the announcement by state regulators to advance the license review scheduled for Crown Melbourne by two years.
While the property is one of the largest job-creators in the state and its closure would create a problem for the government, Crown may feel pressured to hand over the property and its management to another, not necessarily younger, management.