(Fixes Packer shareholding in pars 2 and 5)
SYDNEY Dec 16 Australian casino group Crown
Resorts on Friday said it would increase the size of a
planned share buyback and distribution to investors by A$300
million ($220 million) after selling an additional stake in
Macau-focused Melco Crown Entertainment.
Crown, backed by Australian billionaire James Packer, is
making a near-total exit from the world's two biggest gaming
hubs, Las Vegas and Macau, as a gambling crackdown in China hits
profits and throws its expansion plans into
Crown on Friday said it had reduced its stake in Melco Crown
to 11.2 percent, with 5.5 percent held through a cash-settled
equity swap. Combined with the planned sale of 13.4 percent of
Melco Crown announced on Thursday, Crown said it would receive
proceeds of A$1.9 billion from the share sales.
Crown said as a result of the extra sale of Melco Crown
shares, it would boost the size of a planned share buyback by
A$200 million to A$500 million. It will also increase the size
of a special distribution by A$100 million to A$600 million.
Packer is a 48 percent shareholder, having cut his stake
from 53 percent in August.
($1 = 1.3594 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Alison Williams)