Australia's Crown Resorts takes ownership interest in Nobu

Australia's Crown Resorts Limited, controlled by billionaire James Packer, has acquired a 20-percent ownership interest in international restaurant and hotel company, Nobu, for US$100 million.

The other 80 percent will continue to be owned by the existing owners, entities associated with Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper.

“We see the Nobu brand as complementary to Crown Resorts’ global luxury entertainment positioning and the Nobu business has an attractive near-term growth profile, with a number of new restaurant and hotel openings planned,” Crown chairman Rob Rankin said in a statement, noting that Nobu restaurants are present in both the Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth and a Nobu Hotel at City of Dreams – Manila, which opened in May and is owned by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.

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As part of the acquisition, Packer to join the Nobu board as one of four directors. 

According to Bloomberg, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement that the transaction is credit negative for Crown Resorts, citing an additional financial commitment at a time when the company has an “extensive pipeline of projects” to be undertaken over the next four years. Moody’s said the investment has no immediate impact on the company’s ratings.

Crown Resorts’ shares fell 1.7 percent to A$11.47 on Thursday, bringing their decline for the year to 9.6 percent.