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Archive for April 15th, 2019

James Packer’s New $200 Million Yacht Inches Closer to Maiden Voyage

Casino mogul James Packer’s new gygayacht is inching closer to her maiden voyage; the businessman has reportedly spent more than $200 million on his new toy

One of Australia’s richest men, James Packer will soon be able to feed his well-known taste for expensive toys with a brand-new “gigayacht”. The vessel was built by Benetti in the Italian city of Livorno.

Benetti lowered the luxury yacht earlier this month in the Livorno port to celebrate the culmination of a four-year building process that hit multiple hurdles and delays. The numerous obstacles before the vessel ballooned her initial budget of $120 million to an estimated $200 million.

Measuring 108 meters in length, FB275, as she has been referred to throughout the building process, is the longest yacht in the Benetti fleet. She was also the third 100-plus-meter “gigayacht” to be launched by the company over the past several months.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. Packer will name his new yacht IJE, the initials of his three children – Indigo, Jackson, and Emmanuelle – from his ex-wife, Erica Packer. It is still unknown when exactly the vessel will be delivered to her owner.

The 108-meter luxury mega yacht encompasses 3,700 GT from mast to keel and will replace Mr. Packers significantly more modest 55-meter Amels, EJI, which he offloaded last September.

Hard to Miss

With its 14.5-meter beam and soaring at 30.4 meters in height, Packer’s new vessel will be a true spectacle. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, it has been the businessman’s ultimate dream to pull the yacht into the Sydney port.

The megayacht’s exterior was designed by RWD and carries the British studio’s signature elegant lines. The interior design of the stylish vessel was taken care of by Benetti’s own in-house creative team.

Key features include five decks, a cinema, sauna, heated swimming pool, gym, an observation deck with a seating area. An owner’s deck will have its own seating and private areas in addition to those on the main deck. Two 14-meter tenders can be found on the foredeck and a 10-meter tender is stowed in the yacht’s garage.

FB275 is equally impressive on a technical level. The vessel’s propulsion system will power her to develop a top speed of 18.5 knots and reach a range of at least 6,500 nautical miles. Benetti’s longest superyacht houses a 345,000-liter capacity tank that will enable the vessel to cruise the world without the need for regular refuel.

Mr. Packer’s new luxury toy will hopefully help him sail away from troublesome few years for his casino business Crown Resorts as well as from multiple personal trials. The Australian gambling and hospitality giant had an eventful week as news broke that Wynn Resorts has made a $7.1 billion bid to acquire it. The Las Vegas powerhouse abruptly pulled the plug on takeover discussions after details leaked to media.

Mr. Packer, who owns 47% in Crown through his Consolidated Press Holdings, has reportedly lost out on a $2 billion payout and a 10% stake in the combined Wynn-Crown entity as a result from the deal’s failure.

Last year, the businessman resigned as a director at Crown and stepped back from his commitments to the company, citing mental health reasons for his decision.

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Gambling Giant GVC’s Bosses OK’ed Each Other’s Recent Share Sale

The top bosses of gambling powerhouse GVC Holdings have signed off each other’s recent sale of a large chunk of their personal stakes in the company, The Sunday Times reports

The news outlet has understood that outgoing Chairman Lee Feldman and CEO Kenny Alexander have given each other permission to offload a combined £20 million worth of company shares. GVC shares sunk nearly 20% to hit their lowest in nine years as a result from the move.

Under the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules, a company’s Chairman must be granted permission from the Chief Executive to sell shares and vice-versa. However, the FCA does not say anything about rare occasions where both executives opt to offload stock. A veteran chairman has told The Times that Mr. Feldman and Mr. Alexander’s move was “not something [he] would call a good practice.”

Last month, Mr. Alexander sold more than half of his personal stake in the owner of Ladbrokes Coral to trouser £13.7 million, whilst Mr. Feldman sold about three-quarters worth of stock for £6 million.

The move spooked investors who interpreted the company’s top bosses’ actions as a sign of diminished confidence in GVC’s future. As mentioned about, the share sale wiped off nearly 20% of the gambling operator’s market valuation.

Investor Discontent

GVC has not denied its Chairman and its CEO’s involvement into each other’s disposal of shares. It told The Times that “the transaction was undertaken adhering to corporate governance proceedings.”

Mr. Feldman announced his departure from GVC shortly after his share sale. It is believed that his decision to leave was prompted by investor discontent. However, the company said that his stepping down had been under discussion way prior to the March share sale.

Commenting on his actions, Mr. Alexander has told The Times that he would have not opted to sell shares, if he had known how badly this would impact GVC and that they now need to move on and “recover the lost ground.” He has also pointed out that people over-reacted to his disposal of shares, which he actually did for the first time.

While Mr. Alexander and Mr. Feldman each signing off the other sale is not against the rules, in principle, it could prompt discussions within a company that has a history of clashing into shareholder discontent.

Last spring, 45% of the gambling operator’s investors voted against the proposed fat-cat pay to its CEO. This was the second shareholder revolt the company suffered over “excessively disproportionate” pay awards to its bosses, including Mr. Alexander, in as many years.

Mr. Alexander has been with the gambling powerhouse for more than a decade now and has been part of its evolution from a seven-person business worth a little over £23 million into a behemoth multi-national operation with market cap of more than £3.6 billion. The executive successfully navigated GVC through the takeover in 2016 and the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral last spring.

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