The Star Entertainment Group has withdrawn its A$12bn (€7.5bn) offer for Crown Resorts on the grounds of ongoing uncertainty as to Crown’s suitability to hold its licence to operate the Melbourne casino.

The Star said that, to date, it had limited engagement with Crown in regard to its proposal.

“Also, issues raised at Victoria’s Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne have the potential to materially impact the value of Crown, including whether it retains the licence to operate its Melbourne casino or the conditions under which its licence is retained.”

The Finkelstein Royal Commission currently underway into Crown in Melbourne has been told of alleged tax and credit frauds amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. The Royal Commission follows a similar government inquiry in NSW which raised questions over Crown’s suitability to operate a casino. A third Royal Commission in Perth is underway into Crown operations there.

Crown Resorts is still waiting for a licence to operate its newly-completed complex at Sydney’s Barangaroo.

The Star said it continued to believe substantial benefits could be unlocked by a merger. However, uncertainty surrounding Crown, the company said, was such that The Star was unable to continue at the present time with its proposal “in the form as announced on 10 May 2021”.

The Star remains open to exploring potential value-enhancing opportunities with Crown, it said.

In response, Helen Coonan, chair of Crown Resorts, said the company remained willing to engage with The Star in relation to a potential merger in terms acceptable to both Crown and The Star.

Blackstone earlier submitted an A$8.4bn offer for Crown Resorts but was rejected. The offer of a funding package of A$3.1bn by Oaktree Capital Management is still on the table.

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