• Shares fall as much as 9.2%, the most since November 2008
  • Crown says it hasn't received any acquisition approaches

Crown Resorts Ltd., the Australian casino company of billionaire James Packer, fell the most in more than seven years in Sydney trading after its first-half profit declined more than expected because of a slowdown at its Macau casino venture.

Shares in Crown, controlled by Packer, declined as much as 9.2 percent, the most since November 2008, and were down 5.3 percent at A$11.89 at 11:13 a.m. in Sydney. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.4 percent. Crown’s normalized net income for the six months ended Dec. 31 dropped 35 percent to A$210.3 million ($151 million), the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. That missed analyst estimates of A$246.3 million.

Profit was dragged down by a 66 percent drop in Crown’s share of profits from Macau-based Melco Crown Entertainment and a loss at its wagering and online gaming business. Macau continues to experience a “challenging period,” with overall gross gaming revenue across the region slumping by almost a third in the six months ended Dec. 31, Crown said.

The Melbourne-based casino operator reiterated it hasn’t received any acquisition bids. Packer is in talks to return some of Crown’s casino assets to private ownership, people with knowledge of the matter said in December.

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