Blackstone has returned with an A$8.5bn (€5.5bn) sweetened offer to take over Australia’s troubled casino group, Crown Resorts.

Blackstone, which is the second-largest shareholder in Crown with almost 10% equity, is seeking to acquire all shares in Crown by way of a scheme of arrangement at A$12.50 per share, subject to regulatory approvals.

The proposal is 15c a share higher than the A$12.35 offered by Blackstone in May after its initial offer of A$11.85 in March was rejected.

The Crown board said it would assess the proposal, “having regard to the value and terms of the proposal and other considerations”.

It added that Crown shareholders did not need to take any action in relation to the proposal at this stage, as there was no certainty that the offer would lead to a transaction.

Over the past 30 months, Crown Resorts has endured a series of inquiries into the operations of its casinos to determine its fitness to hold a gaming licence.

Blackstone’s revised offer follows the recent release of findings from Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne. The Commission refrained from revoking or suspending Crown’s casino license. Instead, it gave Crown Melbourne two years to reform itself.

Crown is still waiting for a license to open its newly-completed casino in Sydney. The findings of a Royal Commission into Crown Perth are due to be handed down early in 2022.

James Packer, Crown’s founder, is currently the single-largest shareholder with a 37% stake, but is required following the Victorian Royal Commission to progressively sell down his stake to less than 5%.

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