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Melco Resorts and Entertainment has sold its 9.99% stake in Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd to Blackstone Group, the US-based investment company. Blackstone purchased a total of 67,675,000 shares at a price of US$5.32 per share.

The sale of Melco’s 9.99% stake, acquired from James Packer’s CPH Crown Holdings Pty Limited last June, comes in the midst of a public inquiry into the acquisition by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority, currently postponed due to COVID-19.

The inquiry, launched last August and running since January, had been looking into a range of issues surrounding the transaction, including whether Crown remains a suitable person to retain its restricted gaming license for its AU$2.2 billion Crown Sydney development, due to open in 2021, and whether the disposal of shares to Melco Resorts constitutes a breach of the license or any other regulatory agreement.

Melco originally acquired the 67,675,000 shares last year at a price of US$8.49 per share.

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