Melco Crown Entertainment is getting a name change and a complete rebranding.

The Asian casino giant will drop the “Crown” from its English moniker and has proposed renaming itself “Melco Resorts & Entertainment,” as the company, much like Mariah Carey, contemplates a life without James Packer.

James Packer’s Crown to be dropped from Melco Crown

James Packer’s Crown Resorts dramatically reduced its stake in Melco Crown last year, as it sought to reduce its investment exposure to China. (Image: BBC)

Packer and Crown chose to reduce investment exposure to Macau and the Chinese market last year by selling over $1 billion of its shares back to the company, dropping its stake from 34 percent to 11.2 percent and ceding the controlling stake to Macau casino mogul Lawrence Ho.

Melco Crown was formed in 2005 as a joint venture between Crown and Ho’s Melco International Development, to develop and operate ambitious destination casino resorts in Macau, such as the City of Dreams and, more recently, Studio City.      

Arrests Changed Everything

But the arrest, in October, of 18 Crown Resorts staff in China on suspicion of marketing its casinos to Chinese VIPs has caused Crown to rethink its strategy in the region.

While three or four years ago, Packer was intent on expanding throughout Asia, the arrests, as well as Beijing’s revenue-denting anti-corruption drive, has caused the Australian casino giant to refocus its ambitions on projects closer to home.

“We’re in a different situation now … because of what happened in China and we’re waiting to see how that plays out before we resume traditional marketing in the region. We’re in a holding pattern,” said Crown’s new CEO, John Alexander, during an earnings call last month.

New Identity

Melco Crown, meanwhile, has said it plans to unveil a completely new corporate identity before the end of the year.

“With Melco [International] and Lawrence taking majority shares now, we are all thrilled and looking forward to a new corporate entity unveiling this new chapter of the company and reflecting the new energy as well,” Melco Crown’s senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations, Maggie Ma, told GGRAsia, although she added it still too soon to disclose any further details.

According to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Crown Resorts would be entitled to payment if Melco were to retain the Crown name at its casinos.

Melco Crown is scheduled to hold an AGM at the City of Dreams property on March 29, at which shareholders will be asked to vote on the renaming proposal.