Bloomberg News

Echo Entertainment Surges as Crown Doubles Stake: Sydney Mover

February 27, 2012

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Echo Entertainment Group Ltd., owner of the only casino in Sydney, surged by a record after rival Crown Ltd. doubled its stake in the company to 10 percent and sought regulatory approval to buy more.

The stock jumped 13 percent to A$4.30 at the close of Sydney trading, the biggest gain since the company was spun off from Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. in June.

Crown, the casino operator controlled by billionaire James Packer, today said it held a derivative that will be settled by the delivery of 68.8 million shares, 10 percent of the stock on issue. The Melbourne-based company will pay about A$257 million ($276 million) to acquire the shares, it said in a filing. Crown previously held a derivative for 4.9 percent of Echo that has now been terminated, it said.

Echo’s constitution prohibits any single person from controlling more than 10 percent of the company without getting approval from gaming regulators in New South Wales and Queensland states, where it operates a total of four casinos.

“Crown is seeking these consents so that it has the ability to increase its voting power in Echo beyond 10 percent,” it said.

Crown fell 1.5 percent to A$8.30.

--Editors: Garry Smith, Dave McCombs

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Fenner in Melbourne at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at

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