By Mike Cherney 
 

SYDNEY--Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. said it received a proposal from rival The Star Entertainment Group Ltd. to merge the two companies, just as Blackstone Group Inc. increased its previously announced bid for Crown.

Crown, which operates casinos in Melbourne and Perth and recently completed a new skyscraper on Sydney's waterfront, said it has not yet formed a view on the merits of the proposals.

Crown also announced that it has appointed Steve McCann as its new chief executive. Mr. McCann is currently group chief executive of real-estate developer Lendlease Group.

Star's merger proposal contemplates a nil-premium share exchange ratio of 2.68 Star shares for each Crown share. The merger proposal also includes a cash alternative of 12.50 Australian dollars (US$9.81) per Crown share, subject to a cap of 25% of Crown's total shares.

Assuming the cash alternative is fully taken up, the proposal would result in the merged entity being 59% owned by Crown shareholders and 41% by Star shareholders. Star said the share exchange would value Crown shares at more than A$14 per share.

Meanwhile, Blackstone said it would increase its offer to A$12.35 per share for Crown. That's an increase of 50 Australian cents per share over its prior offer.

 

Write to Mike Cherney at mike.cherney@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 09, 2021 18:58 ET (22:58 GMT)

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