Coronavirus kills Packer's Crown casino deal

Thursday 6th February 2020

Coronavirus kills Packer's Crown casino dealLiza KappelleAAP Friday, 7 February 2020 6:45AM

The deadly coronavirus has taken a toll on Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho's resorts business, prompting him to ditch plans to buy another chunk of Crown Resorts from James Packer.

Mr Ho has also abandoned plans to seek a seat on Crown's board, as his Melco Group focuses on its core businesses amid a big drop in tourism in Asia, and the closure of casinos in Macau, due to the coronavirus.

His proposal to buy 19.9 per cent of Crown from Mr Packer -- in two tranches -- is being investigated by a NSW public inquiry into whether Crown Resorts is fit to hold a gaming licence in NSW.

The inquiry was triggered following media allegations, denied by Crown, of money laundering at its Melbourne casino.

Under NSW casino laws close associates of a company that holds a casino licence must be of good repute and not have business associates who are not of good repute.

Mr Ho's father, Stanley Ho, has been allegedly linked to organised crime and is banned from being an associate of Crown's Barangaroo casino.

Stanley Ho has never been convicted and has always rejected allegations of connections to organised crime.

Crown has told the ASX in a statement on Friday that it has been informed the sale of the second tranche of Mr Packer's shares is off because Melco no longer wants to take its current holding of 10 per cent up to 19.9 per cent.

AAP

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