SYDNEY: Australia's biggest media and casino owner, Publishing & Broadcasting, is to split into two publicly listed enterprises, a move that will pay around A$2 billion ($1.65bn; €1.2bn; £831m) to investors.

PBL's largest shareholder and executive chairman, James Packer (pictured above), who took control of the business after the death of his billionaire tycoon father Kerry in December 2005, says the decision was taken to boost stock prices and hasten growth.

Adds Packer: "It is now time to let these two successful businesses prosper in their own right. Investors will have the opportunity to invest in a strong and growing pure play media company and also in a world-class gaming company."

The split, into gaming and broadcasting, follows the sale last fall of half the company's media assets into PBL Media, a joint venture with buyout firm CVC Asia Pacific, to raise A$4.5 billion to fund PBL's casino expansion [WARC News: 19-Oct-06].

The gaming business will be known as Crown, the other company as Consolidated Media Holdings.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff