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Australian casino billionaire sells down Crown Resorts stake below half

Monday, August 29, 2016 - 09:48
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The billionaire owner of Australia's Crown Resorts Ltd has trimmed his stake to less than half, the latest step in cutting down his involvement in the country's top casino company.

[SYDNEY] The billionaire owner of Australia's Crown Resorts Ltd has trimmed his stake to less than half, the latest step in cutting down his involvement in the country's top casino company.

Former chairman James Packer's private company Consolidated Press Holdings said in a letter to Crown that it has sold about 4.8 per cent for A$450 million (S$462 million) to third party investors, cutting its stake to 48 per cent from 53 per cent.

Consolidated Press said the move was made as part of its financing strategy and that it remained committed to Crown. It did not elaborate on the reason for the sale or identify the buyers.

Over the past year, Mr Packer has reduced his involvement in Crown, the media company he inherited from his late father and turned into a global gambling conglomerate. He quit as chairman in August 2015 and as a director in December.

He has also quit as chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment, a joint venture between Crown and Macau-based Melco International Development, as Crown sold down its stake in that company to 27 per cent from 34 per cent.

Mr Packer has said previously that he wants to concentrate on a new Crown casino development in Sydney and an IT venture capital business in Israel.

The shares were sold at A$12.80 each. On Monday, the stock was down 1.1 per cent at A$13.37.

Crown has said it plans to spin off its international business and pay out 100 percent of its profit in dividends.

REUTERS