SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian billionaire James Packer said on Wednesday he “forgot” his casino firm Crown Resorts Ltd

was banned from dealing with associates of Hong Kong’s Stanley Ho when he orchestrated a part-buyout by a firm controlled by Ho’s son.

Packer’s actions as Crown’s largest shareholder are being scrutinised as the New South Wales state government holds an inquiry to decide if the company should be allowed to go ahead with its A$2.2 billion ($1.6 billion) casino tower in Sydney just months before its scheduled opening.

Under questioning, Packer acknowledged the company he founded agreed not to give Hong Kong casino magnate Ho or his associates any beneficial interest in Crown Resorts when it obtained clearance in 2014 to build the 75-floor tower.

However, Packer announced a sale last year of one-fifth of Crown to Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd

, a company run by Ho’s son Lawrence. On Wednesday, Packer said he assumed his lawyers would pick up any legal issues.

“I forgot, Mr Bell,” Packer told the lawyer leading the inquiry, Adam Bell. “I thought the legal work that the CPH team … were preparing would cover all eventualities,” he said, referring to his private company Consolidated Press Holdings.

Ho, who died in May aged 98, was banned from any involvement in Australian casinos amid widespread reports alleging links to organised crime, which he denied.

Melco ultimately bought half of the 20% Crown stake Packer had put up for sale – and subsequently sold it – and cancelled plans to buy the other half.

Packer’s evidence also covered a period when 16 staff were jailed in China in 2016 for violating anti-gambling laws, prompting an exit from foreign markets, while Packer himself stepped back from public view for personal reasons.

Testifying via videolink, Packer acknowledged requesting frequent

A township in Cape May County said it has scheduled a property tax sale in October to help recoup losses from state-ordered, coronavirus shutdowns and restrictions.

Ten of the 15 properties up for sale in Middle Township are in the Whitesboro area of the township, a community established in 1901 for Black settlers to own homes, especially to escape the violence and racial oppression in Jim Crow America. The sale has some community members wondering if their historic shore community will retain its identity as an area established primarily for people of color.

“This was an African-American safe haven,” said Shirley Green, a longtime resident and local historian. “For them to be tax selling is pretty-much running us out of our quality of life.”

But Green said she understands both sides of the issue. She owns nearly two dozen properties in Whitesboro, many of which are residential rentals. She said she has tried to work with tenants but the township hasn’t worked with her as a property owner who is also experiencing shortfalls.

The parcels that will be auctioned up range in size from a mobile home lot in a campground to a nearly 3-acre lot on Gibbs Street in a wooded area with no structure on it in Whitesboro. Three of the 15 parcels for sale have residential structures on them but none are occupied, a local official said.

The properties will be sold at auction on October 28 with opening bids ranging from $7,600 for a parcel on Matthews Street in Whitesboro to $83,400 for a lot with no structure on it in the 1100 block of Golf Club Road on the east side of the Garden State Parkway. Most of the township, including Whitesboro, is west of the Garden State Parkway.

“We have been preparing for some

Irving-based HMS Holdings Corp. is exploring options including a sale, as the health-care data and technology provider grapples with the impact of the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company is working with advisers to review alternative strategies, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. No final decision has been made and it could still opt to remain independent, the people said.

HMS Holdings’ shares closed 2% higher on Friday, closing at $24.37, giving the company a market value of about $2.2 billion. The stock is down 28% in the past year compared with the 16% gain in the S&P 500 index.

Representatives for HMS Holdings didn’t respond to requests for comment.

HMS, founded in 1974, provides data and analytics services that help federal agencies, health-care exchanges, hospital groups and other clients reduce costs, according to its annual report.

As of last year, HMS had more than 2,500 employees, including about 1,000 in its Irving headquarters. Most of its business comes from the more than 40 state Medicaid agencies and numerous private providers of Medicaid and Medicare that use its software tools to coordinate benefits, detect fraudulent payments, and send health-related messages, such as reminders to pick up prescriptions or get a flu shot.

Its net income fell 77% year-over-year to $6.6 million in the quarter ended June 30, according to a filing.

The coronavirus pandemic hurt revenue and profits in the quarter because of lower volume of work and contracts, it said in the filing. Many U.S. hospitals had to cancel routine visits and elective surgeries during the height of the pandemic.

Dr. Victor Pantano, CEO of Digital Health CRC, speaks during a press conference announcing a partnership with researchers at Stanford, Southern Methodist University and HMS to fight opioid addiction, hospital re-admittance and other challenges that drive up health care costs at HMS Corporate Headquarters in Irving, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. The partnership is funded by a grant from the Australian government.

Irving has long been favored by relocating corporations.

Doctors look at a lung CT image at a hospital in Xiaogan,China.

Source Article

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the newly arrived foundation platform of Leviathan natural gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Haifa, Israel January 31, 2019. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Noble Energy NBL.O shareholders on Friday approved a deal to sell the oil and gas producer to Chevron Corp CVX.N, making Chevron the No. 2 U.S. shale oil producer and giving it international natural gas reserves close to growing markets.

The all-stock deal values Noble Energy at around $4.1 billion, excluding $8 billion in debt, and the vote cements the first big energy deal since the coronavirus crushed global fuel demand.

The addition of Noble will boost Chevron’s U.S. shale oil holdings, making it the No. 2 producer behind EOG Resources, according to data from Rystad Energy. It also adds nearly 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Noble’s Leviathan in Israeli waters, one of the world’s biggest offshore gas discoveries of the last decade, began pumping gas from the field late last year.

While 89% of Noble shareholders voted in favor of the deal, just 60% voted for merger-related executive payouts, according to regulatory filings. Proxy adviser Glass Lewis had recommended voting for the deal but against “excessive” executive payments, which would be triggered by the sale of the company.

The deal has become even cheaper for Chevron since it was announced in July with a value of $5 billion, as shares of both companies have traded down alongside oil. The deal is worth about $4.1 billion based on Friday’s closing price for Chevron of $71.19. Noble investors will receive 0.1191 shares of Chevron for each Noble share.

Activist investor Elliott Management Corp, which took an undisclosed stake in Noble but never came out publicly against the deal, declined

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Noble Energy

shareholders on Friday approved a deal to sell the oil and gas producer to Chevron Corp

, making Chevron the No. 2 U.S. shale oil producer and giving it international natural gas reserves close to growing markets.

The all-stock deal values Noble Energy at around $4.1 billion, excluding $8 billion in debt, and the vote cements the first big energy deal since the coronavirus crushed global fuel demand.

The addition of Noble will boost Chevron’s U.S. shale oil holdings, making it the No. 2 producer behind EOG Resources, according to data from Rystad Energy. It also adds nearly 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Noble’s Leviathan in Israeli waters, one of the world’s biggest offshore gas discoveries of the last decade, began pumping gas from the field late last year.

While 89% of Noble shareholders voted in favor of the deal, just 60% voted for merger-related executive payouts, according to regulatory filings. Proxy adviser Glass Lewis had recommended voting for the deal but against “excessive” executive payments, which would be triggered by the sale of the company.

The deal has become even cheaper for Chevron since it was announced in July with a value of $5 billion, as shares of both companies have traded down alongside oil. The deal is worth about $4.1 billion based on Friday’s closing price for Chevron of $71.19. Noble investors will receive 0.1191 shares of Chevron for each Noble share.

Activist investor Elliott Management Corp, which took an undisclosed stake in Noble but never came out publicly against the deal, declined on Friday to say how it voted its shares or whether it has sold or kept its stake.

The deal is expected close early this quarter.

It comes during a tumultuous year for the oil and gas