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James Packer’s decision to sell came at the right time

Wed, Jun 12, 12:42pm by Staff Writer

James Packer’s decision to offload a chunk of his Crown Resorts holdings to billionaire Lawrence Ho is increasingly looking like a canny move, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

With $600 million wiped from The Star on Tuesday after the rival casino operator warned of lower profits, Mr Packer might have gotten out at the right time.

He is now in Europe where he is expected to take delivery of his own mega yacht, the $200 million IJE – named after the initials of each of his children – in August.

He is currently keeping busy floating around the Mediterranean on a 52-metre charter yacht called Mischief.

That vessel is worth $40 million and owned by Ian Malouf, a fellow rich-lister who received the green light to sell his Dial-A-Dump business to Bingo Industries for $578 million earlier this year.

Benetti lowered the luxury yacht in early April in the Livorno port to celebrate the culmination of a four-year building process that hit multiple hurdles and delays.

The numerous obstacles before the vessel ballooned her initial budget of $120 million to an estimated $200 million.

Measuring 108 metres in length, FB275, as she has been referred to throughout the building process, is the longest yacht in the Benetti fleet.

Yacht is 100+ metres long

It is the third 100-plus metre “gigayacht” to be launched by the company over the past several months.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr Packer will name his new yacht IJE, the initial children – Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle – from his ex-wife Erica Packer.

It is still unknown when exactly the vessel will be delivered to Mr Packer.

It is a yacht that is significantly bigger than his modest 55 metre Amels, EJI, which he offloaded last September.

A 14.5 metre beam and soaring 30.4 metres in the air, the new vessel will be a true spectacle.

The megayacht’s exterior was designed by RWD and carries the British studio’s signature elegant lines.

The interior design of the stylish vessel was taken care of by Benetti’s own in-house creative team.

Plenty of features on new yacht

Key features include five decks, a cinema, sauna, heated swimming pool and an observation deck with seating area.

An owner’s deck will have its own seating and private areas in addition to those on the main deck.

FB275 is equally as impressive on a technical level.

The vessel’s propulsion system will power her to develop a top speed of 18.5 knots and reach a range of at least 6,500 nautical miles.

Benetti’s longest superyacht houses a 345,000 litre capacity tank that will enable it to cruise the world without needing a regular refueling.

Packer sells half his stake in Crown to Melco

Earlier this month, James Packer agreed to sell almost half his stake in Crown Resorts, the casino empire he has nurtured and built over 20 years.

He bypassed the two international investment banking firms advising him and even the board of Crown – his handpicked group of loyal directors.

Mr Packer sold his stake in Crow Resorts for $1.76 billion in a deal that is set to spark plenty of questions, particularly around whether the deal complies with the conditions of a licence with the New South Wales government.

Melco, which is purchasing the shares from Mr Packer’s private investment company Consolidated Press Holdings, is run by Lawrence Ho, son of the gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, who once enjoyed a monopoly on gambling in Macau.

“I am thrilled Lawrence Ho and Melco have chosen to invest in Crown,” Mr Packer said.

Mr Ho said the two companies shared similar DNA and expressed confidence in Crown’s Barangaroo development in Sydney.

“Crown’s resorts in Perth and Melbourne are world class entertainment destinations and I believe that Crown Sydney, much like Melco’s Morpheus property, will create an architectural icon for the city, the country and the world,” Mr Ho said.

On Wall Street, Melco shares dropped on the announcement and finished 5.6 per cent lower.


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