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James Packer's Crown Resorts stake sale hits regulatory snag

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James Packer's Crown Resorts stake sale hits regulatory snag
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Australian casino giant Crown Resorts Ltd adorns the hotel and casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed   -   Copyright  Jason Reed(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Australia’s Crown Resorts <CWN.AX> on Thursday said it had been informed that a planned $1.2 billion (977.5 million pounds) stake sale by billionaire founder James Packer to Melco Resorts & Entertainment <MLCO.O> had been delayed.

Melco on Wednesday said the second tranche of the 19.99% stake sale by Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd would be deferred by up to 60 business days after Australian regulators completed a review of the deal.

An Australian regulator in August said it would investigate Melco’s planned purchase in Crown following media reports that Crown had flouted rules to lure big Chinese gamblers to Australia.

Crown has denied the allegations, which have triggered probes by gambling authorities in the states of Victoria and neighbouring New South Wales, where Crown is building a new complex on the Sydney waterfront.

The amended agreement showed that the sale would be completed provided regulators have no objections which could restrict its completion.

Crown last week reported a 5% fall in annual profit on less gambling by Chinese tourists.

(Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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