The billionaire and operator of the Crown Resort in Sydney, James Packer, is said to have spent New Year's Eve with the US casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to press reports, James Packer's 200 million dollar yacht IJE and Adelson's 92-meter-long Queen Miri are said to have been lying next to each other at an unnamed location in the French Caribbean.
The alleged meeting of the casino tycoons sparked rumors that Packer intended to sell its 36% stake in Crown Resorts, valued at around $ 2.7 billion, to Adelson.
The luxurious six-star Crown Towers Hotel and a number of upscale restaurants will open to the public in the new Crown Sydney complex in Barangaroo from Monday.
Restaurants opening their doors this week include a Japanese restaurant by renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa, a Chinese-style tea house and a high-end cocktail bar.
A 2,000 m² spa area connected to the hotel can also be visited. However, the casino for high rollers and VIPs is not yet operational as the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) revoked its license.
The license was suspended following investigations into allegations of money laundering and links to organized crime. Crown Resorts now has to apply again for a license from ILGA on May 1st.
Selling Crown Resorts as the only option?
According to analysts, selling its stake is likely to be the only sensible option for Packer. The reason for this lies in the ongoing official investigations and in the fact that Crown Resorts already admitted in November that it was involved in money laundering activities via VIP accounts.
Speculations about a possible sale of James Packer's shares are by no means new. Already after his questioning, in which Packer took part via video chat on board his yacht, Australian investigators ruled that Packer was unsuitable for running a casino. Due to a bipolar disorder, Packer does not want to be able to remember the misconduct that he is accused of.
On the other hand, Sheldon Adelson is known for always looking for new investment opportunities. The casino tycoon owns casinos in the US, Macau and Singapore valued at $ 33.5 billion.
However, a spokesman for Crown Resorts denied the meeting between Packer and Adelson:
There was no meeting between Mr. Packer and Mr. Adelson. It is wrong.
The future of Crown Resorts, however, is uncertain due to the ongoing license review. However, as the company is one of the largest employers, there could be pressure on Crown to move management into other hands.