There’s no doubt that Australia’s Crown Resorts must be looking a whole lot like his own personal Enron to former executive chairman, James Packer. It’s hard to decide which fate is the worst; looking upon a financial undoing of your own making, or, as in Packer’s case, watching a ship sink completely due to circumstances beyond your control and barely managing to plug one hole before another appears.
James Packer has been looking on helplessly as his fortune shrunk by almost one fifth in a question of only four months’ time. Australia’s wealthiest man – for now – owns a 46% stake in Crown Resorts, which has lost nearly 20% of its total value since August of this year.
Rivals Are Equally Affected
But it’s not only Packer drawing on the shortest end of the straw. Growing investor concerns over an ailing high-rolling Chinese market and an economy now considered to be in a state of rapid and steady decline, has managed to get the better of Star Entertainment as well as Wynn Resorts.
Star Entertainment has seen the value of its shares drop by 21%, whilst Wynn Resorts has been plagued by a 15% reduction in value and slow weekends the likes of which has not been seen since the great depression.
Crown Retreats To Home Soil
As the old adage (almost) goes, desperate times call for creative measures. Star Entertainment has obviously opted for a more aggressive approach and has gone the whole hog from translating its name into Chinese, to non-stop advertising on Asian social media platforms such as WeChat. Desperate or exceptionally cunning; it all depends on who you ask.
Packer has been fighting a couple of demons of his own, having already resigned from his position as executive chairman for the second time round, the last time back in March after a particularly public break-up from superstar singer Mariah Carey. Packer claimed that mental health issues were starting to get the better of him and that resigning from the chair was the best course of action for everyone involved.
The reasonable thing to do seemed to be to downscale. Crown ended up withdrawing from Macau and closing down shop in most of Asia. It even went as far as selling off some major assets in order to clear outstanding debt. It was, for the most part, a corporation in retirement.
It did however; hold on to its Australian business interests. Despite the fact that the land down under has its own set of challenges lurking in the passageways, experts are of the opinion that Crown Resorts’ new Sydney development may be just what the doctor ordered.
The new resort will be completed in 2021. As for Packer and his band, it’s now simply a matter of holding on for dear life until then.