James Packer is looking at privatising Crown’s casinos and the shares are rallying

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Billionaire James Packer is reportedly in talks to return some of Crown Resorts’s assets to private ownership.

A report by Bloomberg quoted people with “knowledge of the matter”.

Crown Resort shares jumped almost 14% on the news to be trading at $12.13. It was trading at $18 at the start of 2014, but changes to the earnings outlook for its Macau business have put downward pressure on the stock.

Bloomberg says Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings has been speaking with private equity firms and pension funds about a possible joint bid for some of the assets of ASX-listed Crown Resorts.

Crown’s earnings have been dragged down by a weak market in Macau because of a Chinese government crackdown on black money being washed through casinos.

The latest results show full year normalised net profit down 17.9% to $525.5 million.

Packer stepped down as chair of Crown Resorts in August and has made it known he’s not happy with returns from the group.

“We have to get better at achieving an acceptable return on the capital expenditure we spend in Australia,” he told the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne.

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