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Packer After U.S. Casinos?

Published: September 8, 2009 4:52 pm ET

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Australian billionaire magnate James Packer is 42 years old today, and $769 million (U.S.) richer.

Packer sold private assets for that amount, and an analyst for Citigroup thinks Packer will use the money to buy Las Vegas casinos which represent a buyer’s market in the hard times that have hit them.

The famed strip in Vegas has lost 15% of its value in the year ended July 1, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and Packer’s Crown Ltd. has written down its existing North American assets by $1.5 billion in Australian funds in the last two years.

Although, Citigroup analyst Jenny Owen is quoted by as saying, “2010 could prove an opportunistic time to buy U.S. casino assets, as the ongoing downturn could be prolonged. Those assets could then be vended into Crown at a later date and a higher multiple.”

Crown stock has gained 38% this year and rose 3.1% to $8.25 (Aus.) at the close of trading yesterday in Sydney. It has a market value of $6.3 billion (Aus.).

(Harness Tracks of America)

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