James Packer is selling down his share of Crown

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Billionaire James Packer has sold 4.8% of Crown Resorts.

A short time ago, Crown shares were down 1.85% to $13.27.

Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, says it has agreed to sell about 35 million shares for about $450 million.

This will leave Packer with 48.2% of Crown, just short of an absolute majority.

The sale was reported to be part of the process of paying down debt following a settlement with his sister Gretel on how to split up the family assets.

Packer, who has made no secret that he thinks the company’s returns have been substandard, has been distancing himself from the business. He is no longer chairman and has decided against taking an executive role.

And the company is being split to isolate the struggling Macau casino holdings and break free the cash machine of the Australian casinos and associated property holdings.

A demerger will pull together the Melbourne and Perth casinos, the planned resort in Sydney and online gaming.

A separate company would then own some of the Crown Resorts’ international investments and provide exposure to the major gaming markets of Macau, Las Vegas and the UK, plus a 20% interest in Nobu restaurants.

A third entity, a property trust, would float 49% of the Australian Crown Resorts’ land.

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