James Packer Selling $283M Mega-Yacht, as Crown Resorts Hits Headwinds

Posted on: September 17, 2021, 05:24h. 

Last updated on: September 17, 2021, 12:53h.

James Packer is selling his yacht. The Crown Resorts billionaire listed the vessel for sale this week with international superyacht broker Burgess Yachts. The asking price is $283 million, around $83 million more than he paid for it in 2019.

James Packer yacht
James Packer, inset, is selling his $283 million mega-yacht “EJI,” pictured. (Image: Daily Mail)

The yacht is named “EJI,” the initials of Packer’s three children, Emmanuelle, Jackson, and Indigo, and was built by famed Italian ship-assembler, Benetti. On its website, Burgess raves about its “timeless sculptural exterior,” describing it as the “ultimate world-cruising family yacht.”

At 354 feet, it’s the biggest yacht ever built by the Italian company, and one of the biggest private boats in the world. Onboard, it boasts a large heated swimming pool, a cinema, a nightclub accessible via an elevator, a barber’s shop, and a “vast lower deck gym.” There’s accommodation for 22 people in 11 cabins and 3,000 feet of outdoor deck space, including a private owner’s deck.

Its 345,000-litre capacity tank means it can travel 6,500 nautical miles at 14 knots without the need to refuel.

We’re Going to Need a Smaller Boat

It’s intriguing that Packer is selling the vessel just two years after he bought it, particularly since he named it after his children.

The Age notes that despite having a net worth of $3 billion, he may need to free up some cash flow. That’s because he has been without his main source of income for over 18 months – Crown Resorts dividends, based on his 37 percent share in the company. The casino company won’t be paying any this year either, because it’s a condition of a new loan agreement.

The sale of the yacht is symbolic of a tough few years for Packer and Crown Resorts. The 54-year-old resigned from the company’s board and largely withdrew himself from the business world in 2019, citing mental health problems.

Since then, his casino empire has been far from shipshape. Following a regulatory inquiry in New South Wales, regulators pulled Crown’s gaming license for its new $1.6 billion high-end casino property in Sydney.

The investigation found Crown was guilty of “facilitating money laundering, exposing staff to the risk of detention in a foreign jurisdiction, and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals with connections to Triads and organized crime groups.”

Troubled Waters

It’s no secret that Packer has been open to selling his shares in the recent past, but now may not be the right time. Some analysts believe that Crown Resorts’ stock is undervalued because of regulatory headwinds and the impact of the pandemic – problems they believe will be surmounted.

But a similar investigation is now underway in Victoria, and tax evasion has been added to the list of accusations. That means the license for Crown’s flagship Melbourne casino also hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, the company is also under investigation by Australia’s financial crime unit, AUSTRAC, for facilitating money laundering, and heavy financial penalties are expected.

Crown’s auditor KPMG said recently there were “material uncertainties” about whether the operator can continue as a going concern in the light of these factors.