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Packer in to Expand Casino Empire
Australia’s richest man, Kerry Packer, has thrown $580 million on the
table in a bid to buy his second casino, Perth’s Burswood.
The bid, if successful, will make Mr Packer’s Publishing &
Broadcasting Ltd by far the largest casino operator in the nation and
give the company a virtual monopoly on the lucrative high-roller market,
which hauls more than $25 billion in revenue to Australia, mainly from
PBL, which already owns Melbourne’s Crown Casino, flagged its
intentions for Burswood in October last year when it snapped up a 14.2
per cent stake in the casino operator for $77.3 million, making it the
largest single shareholder.
Mr Packer’s son, PBL chairman James Packer and chief executive Peter
Yates met Burswood management in Perth yesterday to deliver the offer,
and are believed to have paid a courtesy call on the West Australian
Burswood directors were unavailable for comment last night, but are
believed to have been in discussions with the Packer camp since October.
PBL said in a statement late last night that the company had received
probity approval from the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western
Australia to acquire all of Burswood.
James Packer said the company believed the $1.40-a-share offer
represented fair value. "It contains a material premium to Burswood’s
current share price, a price which has been inflated as a result of
speculation that has occurred since PBL (WA) acquired its strategic
PBL chief executive Peter Yates said: "In our view this is an
attractive and straightforward proposal for Burswood’s shareholders.
"PBL wants to further develop Burswood into a first-class
entertainment venue which benefits the people of Perth and also
generates significant international and interstate tourism revenue.
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