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]>> The billionaire boss of casino company Crown Resorts, James Packer, has quit, citing mental illness. Packer's spokesman confirmed his departure on Wednesday. He's leaving after both a break up with singer Mariah Carey and the failure of Crown's attempts to expand. It's an unexpected exit, but recent years haven't been smooth sailing for either Packer or his company.
Reuters Tom Westbrook reports from Sydney.>> Crown had 18 staffers arrested in China for violating strict anti-gambling rules and that really rocked the whole industry which is heavily exposed to high roller income from Chinese gamblers. The period has been tumultuous for Packer personally as well. His brief engagement to the singer Mariah Carey ended.
He's being embroiled in this investigation into Benjamin Netenyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. He was a witness in a case where police are now alleging that gifts Packer gave the Netenyahu family will fall under their bribery probe, basically, they're recommending charges in that investigation.>> Crown's shares dropped 1.4% to a month low on the news.
Packer still owns close to half of the casino operator, which is worth nearly $7 billion. Still, analysts say the Crown board will likely weather Packer's absence. However, lingering rumors remain about whether the 50 year old will use his substantial stake to take Crown private, as his resignation does remove a conflict of interest should he does want to launch a buyout bid.
>> There's always persistent rumors for such a large stake that he might take the company private. He's expressed that intention before, and that would avoid him having to go through all the pain of having a publicly listed company fronting shareholders, making reports. It'd just be a simpler operation to run.
And he's always regarded it that as his company, he built it from his father's media empire.>> In the mean time, Crown executives are set to focus on making a success of the slimmed down company with their ambitions limited to their home market of Australia.