Packer Holds Talks About Crown Investment, Says No Proposal Made

Opening Of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.'s Studio City Casino Resort

James Packer.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

James Packer’s closely held investment company said it has held discussions with other entities about its stake in Crown Resorts Ltd. following media reports that he’s considering returning some of Crown’s casino assets to private ownership.

Shares of Crown, which is controlled by Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty, surged 11 percent Wednesday after Bloomberg News reported that Consolidated Press had been speaking with private equity firms and pension funds about a possible joint bid for some Crown assets. The report cited people with knowledge of the matter.

Consolidated Press “has confidential discussions with third parties” about its investments, including the Crown shareholding, “from time to time,” the company said in a letter to Crown that was released to the stock exchange Thursday. Consolidated Press hasn’t proposed any deal to Crown “of the nature speculated in the media” and any additional discussions about its investments shouldn’t be taken as an indication a proposal would be made, it said in the letter.

In the same filing to the stock exchange, Crown said it’s not aware of any proposal for a joint bid and it hasn’t received such a proposal.

Crown shares extended gains following the statement, adding 0.5 percent to A$11.83 at 10:09 a.m. in Sydney, taking its market value to A$8.6 billion ($6.2 billion).

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