Publishing & Broadcasting to Split Gaming and Media Assets

Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting said on Tuesday it would split its gaming and media assets into two listed companies, sending its shares up as much as 8.5%.

PBL, controlled by Australia's richest man James Packer, said shareholders would receive A$2 billion (US$1.7 billion) and shares in both the new firms under the restructure.

PBL will house its casino and international gaming assets in a company called Crown, while its television network, magazines and other media businesses will be contained in a company called Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH).

Shareholders will receive one share in each of Crown and CMH plus A$3.00 cash for each PBL share held, it said in a statement.

The Packer family company has diversified away from its traditional media base in recent years to focus on more lucrative gaming assets. Last year it sold its media assets to a new vehicle called PBL Media -- jointly owned with private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific.

PBL has invested in casino assets in Macau and is focused on expanding its international gaming assets in the United Kingdom and North America.

"It is now time to let these two successful businesses prosper in their own right," Packer, PBL's Executive Chairman, said in a statement. Under the offer, shareholders can elect to receive a greater proportion in cash or shares.

Crown will include PBL's casinos in Australia and Macau and international gaming assets. CMH will include PBL's stakes in PBL Media and Australian pay television business Foxtel.