Following a Star ASX statement

Hard Rock shoots down rumors of Star Entertainment takeover bid

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Hard Rock International is shutting down rumors that the company is exploring a potential takeover of Australian casino heavyweight Star Entertainment Group. In a press statement, the company said it is not involved in any proposed bid for The Star and that it has not authorized the use of its brand in connection with any such move.

Hard Rock's statement reads: "We want to make it clear that Hard Rock International is not involved in, nor has it authorized, any discussions, activities or negotiations on its behalf in connection with a proposed bid for Star. Hard Rock International has similarly not authorized the use of the Hard Rock brand in connection with any proposed bid for Star by any third party. "

Additionally, the company said it takes any misuse of the Hard Rock name in unauthorized business dealings "very seriously" and that it is currently investigating the matter, willing to pursue "all necessary legal actions to protect our brand and reputation."

The company's official denial follows an ASX statement from Star on Monday in which the Australian operator acknowledged "inbound interest" from a consortium of investors that it said included the entity Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts (Pacific).

"The nature of the interest to date has been confidential, unsolicited, preliminary and non-binding," the Australian operator said. "At this stage, none of the approaches has resulted in substantive discussions. The Star remains focused on its remediation activities in New South Wales and Queensland and participating in the Bell Two Inquiry."

The Australian Financial Review was the first to report that Star had been approached by a Hard Rock-led consortium of investors, sending the company's shares 20% higher on Monday. This represented their best session since early March and made them the top gainer on the Australian exchange, which rose 0.6%.

The report suggested all Star land-based casinos would rebrand under the Hard Rock name and that each site would become less reliant on casino revenue and focus more on other aspects such as live music and hotels.

Star's shares have plummeted in recent times following two inquiries. One is currently ongoing, looking into the company's suitability to hold a casino license for The Star Sydney. The final report is due on July 31. The company is also looking for a new chairman and a CEO after both resigned earlier this year. 

Australian casino operators have been under the lens of regulators over the last few years, with Blackstone-owned Crown Resorts also facing inquiries that exposed a slew of wrongdoings. 

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