The NSW gaming regulator has reached an agreement with James Packer preventing him from seeking representation on the board of Crown Resorts.
The NSW gaming regulator has reached an agreement with James Packer preventing him from seeking representation on the board of Crown Resorts.

Packer barred from Crown board

The NSW gambling regulator has reached an agreement with James Packer that formally bans him sitting on the board of or interfering with casino operator Crown Resorts, in which he owns a 37 per cent stake.

In a statement the NSW independent Liquor and Gaming Authority said it had reached an agreement with Mr Packer's holding company, Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), to limit the extent it is able to influence Crown.

The agreed to undertakings include CPH pledging to not enter "into any information sharing arrangements with Crown" and to not initiate "any discussions with Crown, other than through public forums, about Crown's businesses or operations."

In addition, CPH has agreed to not seek "to have its executive or nominee appointed to Crown's board, or requisition a meeting of Crown shareholders to seek the appointment of any person as a director of Crown, before October 2024."

It will also not seek "any amendment to the Crown constitution which would affect the management or operation of Crown's businesses."

It comes after the NSW independent Liquor and Gaming Authority's inquiry into the $8bn gaming giant deemed the company not suitable to be the licensee of its $2.2bn Barangaroo casino in Sydney, barring the gaming floors from opening until it is satisfied Crown is a changed company.

A key factor behind inquiry commissioner Patricia Bergin's findings of unsuitability was the influence projected on the company by its largest shareholder, James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH).

Ms Bergin formally recommended that controls be placed on CPH to prevent "remote manoeuvring" of the company by Mr Packer and his nominee directors, which included Michael Johnston, Guy Jalland and John Poynton, all of whom have since resigned.

A key controversy raised during the inquiry was a special shareholder protocol that allowed Mr Packer to receive confidential financial information about the company by request, even after he resigned as a director in 2018 for mental health reasons.

Crown and CPH agreed to remove the protocol before Ms Bergin handed down her findings while CPH's nominee directors have already resigned.

Mr Packer has also indicated he is open to selling his stake in the company: last week CPH retained Moelis as an advisor regarding a $8bn takeover offer from US Private Equity Group Blackstone.

 

 

Originally published as Packer barred from Crown board



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