— Finance

ASX snaps losing streak, Crown soars on takeover offer

Today, most sectors rose on the Australian Stock Exchange, with Crown’s shares soaring past the casino giant’s surprise takeover offer price.

The Australian share market snapped a three-day losing streak on Monday, with most sectors gaining ground. At the same time, beleaguered casino giant Crown Resorts was the standout performer after a surprise $8bn takeover bid.

The S&P/ASX200 closed 0.66 percent higher at 6752.5 while the All Ordinaries Index rose 0.51 percent to 6995. OpenMarkets Group chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said the local bourse marched to its own beat after US markets closed mixed on Friday.

Crown received an unsolicited, non-binding, and indicative proposal from New York-based private equity giant The Blackstone Group of $11.85 cash per share, sending its shares soaring by 21.4 percent to $11.97.

The offer is subject to conditions, including regulatory confirmation that a Blackstone-owned Crown is suitable for owning and operating the Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth casinos.

The board has not yet recommended shareholders — the most prominent being reclusive billionaire James Packer — and is assessing the proposal. Blackstone already has a 9.99 percent stake in Crown.

It comes just two days before the company faces a royal commission in Victoria over its explosive money laundering scandal. Another major mover was department store chain Myer, which gained 5.97 percent to 35.5 cents.

“The stock looks interesting at current levels with a lot of buying pressure coming through today,” Mr. Tchourilov said. “Their retail outlets obviously struggled during COVID, but online sales have done quite well, which has kept them going.

“Meanwhile, Myer’s short-term liabilities – due within 12 months – are around $650m, and it only has $300m or so in cash and short-term receivables, due within the same time frame.

“They clearly still have balance sheet worries, which makes it quite difficult to put together a strong investment case for them.” Online retailer Kogan was a laggard, shedding 3.46 percent to $13.67.

The materials sector was weaker after iron ore prices fell. Rio Tinto lost 1.15 percent to $107.81, BHP retreated 0.89 percent to $44.50, and Fortescue slumped 4.25 percent to $19.16.

CommSec analyst James Tao said there were continuing concerns about Chinese demand for Australia’s key export.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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