Wynn Resorts makes a $7B play for Australia’s Crown Resorts

Wynn Resorts is placing its bets on one of Australia’s largest gaming and entertainment groups.

The Las Vegas company has approached Crown Resorts with a 10 billion Australian dollar ($7.1 billion) takeover, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

The cash and stock offer from Wynn values Crown shares at 14.75 Australian dollars ($10.51) each.

“The discussions between Crown and Wynn are at a preliminary stage,” Crown said. “There is no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction.”

Wynn Resorts declined to comment.

Investors welcomed the possibility of a US buyout — shares in Crown spiked 21% in Sydney.

Wynn Resorts owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Boston. Founder Steve Wynn was a high roller in the gambling world for decades, during which time he was credited as helping to transform Las Vegas casinos from gambling dens into entertainment hubs that offer spectacular shows and high-end restaurants.

He stepped down as CEO of the company last year, after allegations of sexual misconduct piled pressure on the billionaire casino mogul and sent the company’s stock tumbling.

Crown also lost a key figure last year, when Australian billionaire James Packer resigned from the board due to personal reasons. Packer is best known in the United States for his brief engagement to pop singer Mariah Carey.

Crown owns casinos in Australia and London. The company exited Macau in 2017, after China’s crackdown on gambling resulted in prison sentences for a senior executive and 15 colleagues.