Australian casino mogul James Packer recently sold no less than 50% of his stake in Crown Resorts Limited to Lawrence Ho, a billionaire from Macau. The deal will be concluded in 2 increments, the first already being paid and the latter one being due for the end of September.
Melco also declared that it’ll pursue a much bigger stake in Crown Casinos to go along with the board seats, pending, of course, the normal regulatory approvals. The $1.22 billion (A$1.75 billion) price tag is just a small premium—less than 1%—over Crown’s final price Thursday. On Friday, Crown’s stock numbers dropped 3% as per the Australian Securities Exchange, comparing to the previous day.
With a Forbes-calculated net worth of almost 3b$, James Packer is one of the wealthiest people in the world, and that’s also based on the $850 million he is due to receive (net of taxes), and Friday’s closing stock price. With a huge drop of $600 million since the start of the year, January, Packer dropped a few places from being the 9th wealthiest person in Australia.
It’s quite a meltdown for Packer, whose father was surely one of the most successful businessmen in Australia. Kerry Packer, the senior member of the family, who died in 2005, was the founder and owner of Australia’s leading television network and the country’s biggest bundle of magazines. His net worth was double the amount that his son is currently worth.
However, Kerry Packer was not the one that formed and first risen the family name to glory, as it was James’s grandfather, Sir Frank, that started the media company. Kerry had inherited the media company from his father, Sir Frank, and grew it into an empire worth $5 billion.
James Packer was the one that disrupted the family tradition and decided to move away from the businesses that formed the good family name. He was initially lauded for changing the direction of the family affairs and reinventing his father’s empire. He has succeeded at that by selling the vast majority of the Packer’s family media assets to a Hong Kong private firm for no less than $4 billion, across two deals in 2006 and 2007. This deal is the first one that James Packer has done in a loss.
Just 10 years ago, James Packer was the wealthiest man in Australia. His businesses were flourishing and he was well on the way to entering the top 100 wealthiest businessmen in the world. In 2014, his net worth reached its peak with $6.6 billion.
The two business powerhouses, Melco and Crown, have done business before, as this will not be the first venture they go into together. The Australian and Hong Kong-based companies partnered more than 15 years ago, back in 2004, in order to develop and operate casinos in Macau. The partnership lasted almost 13 years, until 2017, when Melco bought the Crown shared of the company. James Packer motivated the sale by declaring that he intends to focus on the Australian markets and casinos.
According to Forbes, the CEO of Melco has a net worth of $2.1 billion and is also born into wealth, being the son of legendary businessman Stanley Ho. The most part of his wealth is tied into Melco, a company that he owns 54% of. The biggest project that will be left in the hands of Packer is the $1.5 billion casinos in Sydney, a jewel that is slated to be launched in 2020.
Earlier this year, the air of the Packer-family name and wealth tried to cash out of Crown. Back in April 2019, Wynn Resorts, founded by billionaires Steve and Elain Wynn tried to take over Crown for an astounding worth of $7 billion. Hours after James Packer announced the sale, the deal did not go through, due to ‘’undisclosed misunderstandings’’.
It seems like 2019 is the year in which James Packer wants to clear the slate off and start new ventures. Back in March of last year, he stepped down from the board of directors of Crown Resorts. No later than four months after that, he resigned from the Consolidated Pressboard, a media company that he and his sister inherited from their father.
“He definitely wants an easier life, and a less-stress life,” one colleague told the paper. “No doubt about that., one journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald publicly declared.
Packer’s board exits were reportedly due in part to mental health issues, following a tough year when Crown exited its Macau and U.S. gambling investments.
Packer, who has three children living in Los Angeles with his ex-wife, Erica Packer, also finances Hollywood films via his RatPac Entertainment, which he co-founded with Brett Ratner, who directed the Rush Hour film series and X-Men 3: The Last Stand.