1. Blackstone was co-founded by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, who was the head of Donald's Trump's business council and remains a personal friend. Given Mr Trump's chequered career as a casino operator in Atlantic City and his continuing false claims about stolen elections, is Blackstone really a suitable owner of Crown's 3 politically, socially, economically and culturally sensitive Australian casino properties?
Answer: Blackstone is compliant where it operates.
2. In a great act of transparency, Sydney Airports Corporation disclosed the proxy position along with the formal addresses to the ASX ahead of its recent scheme meeting. Why didn't we do the same and what is the proxy position? Has major shareholder James Packer voted his 37% stake in favour of the scheme by proxy?
Answer: it would be inappropriate to comment on how individual shareholders have voted but you can see from the basic maths that Packer has voted in favour.
3. Given that shareholder approval was never the final approval that was required for the scheme to be approved, why did we delay the earlier scheme meeting because regulatory approval had not been given but have then proceeded with this meeting? Was it Blackstone or the Crown board who took these decisions. Isn't it a bit arrogant to go ahead with a shareholder vote before we even know if any of the 3 state governments approve of a controversial outfit like Blackstone taking control of our politically sensitive company?
Answer: we made out best assessments on the likely timetable.
4. In a remarkable lack of transparency, neither Crown, Blackstone or any of the 3 state regulators have made any public statements about the probity review processes that are playing out with this Blackstone bid, including the reasons for the unexpected delays in approval from all 3 of them. Are the NSW, Victoria and WA governments, through their respective gambling regulators, acting together in this review or is Blackstone simultaneously being subjected to 3 separate un-related probity reviews.
Answer: inappropriate to comment on the regulatory processes.
5. Have Blackstone given any indication, either formally or informally, as to whether any of the Crown directors or senior executives will be offered contracts to continue working in the business if this proposed change of control takes place. Could CEO Steve McCann please specifically outline the contractual exit arrangements which are in place if Blackstone terminates his contract or if he chooses to exercise the change of control provisions in his contract?
Answer: CEO contract was discussed at the AGM, would be inappropriate for these sorts of discussions to take place with Blackstone.
6. Blackstone still has the option of walking away if it doesn't like any of the conditions proposed by the state regulators or if it objects to adverse business developments such as a huge Austrac fine, ongoing delays to the opening of Barangaroo, long term regulatory restrictions on VIP gambling or the new pokies tax proposed by the Victorian Government. Crown is a gambling company. Could the chair and CEO both comment on their assessment about the odds of the deal falling over. Are they both more than 90% confident that it will complete?
Answer: you have laid out some of the complexities, inappropriate to comment on the odds.
7. Blackstone is a big player in Latin America and operates 66 casinos in Colombia, 34 in Panama, 29 in Peru, eight in Costa Rica and six in the Dominican Republic. Is Crown aware of any regulatory concerns about Blackstone operating in some jurisdictions which have a poor reputation for corruption and good governance.
Answer: now you are really straying into matters un-related to today's vote, let's wrap up the debate now.
8. Will a full archive of today's scheme meeting webcast, along with a transcript, be made available on the Crown Resorts website for as long as Crown remains a public company controlled by this board. The regulators should be made aware of the full debate at this meeting.
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