2021-04-19 02:02:25

Bitcoin stabilises after cryptocurrency rout; ASX rises as Crown reveals Packer buyout plan

Key cryptocurrency prices have stabilised after drops of 15 per cent for bitcoin and 18 per cent for ether over the weekend, while Crown has received a private equity offer to help it buy out James Packer.

Having surged to a record high of $US64,869.77 on April 14, bitcoin hit a low of $51,707.50 yesterday before quickly rebounding back to around $US56,270 at 9:55am AEST.

Other major cryptocurrencies made similar moves, with ether dropping below $US2,000 before paring its losses to $US2,237.

Dogecoin bucked the weekend trend by rising over the past day, although it is also off its record highs recorded last week.

The sell-off came after a frenzy of interest in cryptocurrency trading hub Coinbase’s listing on the Nasdaq last week.

Coinbase reached highs of $US112 billion before closing at $US86 billion after listing on Wednesday.

It ended the week valued at $US68 billion.

The hype around its listing had seen most major cryptocurrencies hit record prices during the past week, leading many to conclude the sell-off was “inevitable”.

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“Markets got too excited around $Coin direct listing,” tweeted cryptocurrency investor and CEO of Galaxy Digital, Michael Novogratz.

“Basis blowing out, coins like $BSV, $XRP and $DOGE pumping. All were signs that the market got too one way.

“We will be fine in the medium term as institutions coming to the space.”

Other players in the crypto space also cited “euphoria” for the extreme prices rises last week, and their reversal on the weekend.

“The crypto world is waking up with a bit of a sore head today,” Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, told Bloomberg.

“Dogecoin’s 100 per cent Friday rally was ‘peak party’, after the bitcoin record and Coinbase listing earlier in the week.

Crown reveals Oaktree plan to buy out Packer

The big news on the Australian share market is a proposal by private equity firm Oaktree to fund Crown Resorts to buy out its biggest shareholder, James Packer.

Crown announced to the market this morning that it had received an unsolicited and non-binding proposal from funds managed and advised by Oaktree Capital Management to provide funding of up to $3 billion to Crown for the purpose of buying back some or all of the shares currently held by Mr Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings Limited (CPH).

CPH currently owns around 37 per cent of Crown.

However, any selective buy-back of the Crown shares held by CPH would be subject to approval by the casino operator’s other shareholders.

CPH would not be allowed to vote in favour.

Crown said its board has not yet formed a view on the merits of the Oaktree proposal.

Crown is also currently considering an $8 billion takeover offer from private equity firm Blackstone.

Crown shares were up 0.7 per cent to $12, slightly higher than Blackstone’s $11.85 a share offer price.

ASX opens higher

While cryptocurrency markets were volatile, that has not fed through to equities.

The Australian share market has followed a positive lead from Wall Street on Friday, with a modest 0.2 per cent gain for the ASX 200 to 7,075 points.

The broader All Ordinaries was up a similar amount to 7,344 points, a fresh record high.

Consumer stocks were leading the gains, with car retailer Eagers Automotive (+5.3pc) and Super Retail Group (+3.9pc) two of the standouts.

Energy companies were the main drag on the market, with Whitehaven Coal down 2.5 per cent and Beach Energy off 2.2 per cent.

The Australian dollar was worth 77.2 US cents.

Spot gold was selling for $US1,779.21 an ounce.

Brent crude oil was fetching $US66.43 a barrel.

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