Packer buys into De Niro’s restaurants

Billionaire James Packer and Oscar winner Robert De Niro are cooking up a sushi storm.


Mr Packer’s Crown Resorts has paid $US100 million ($A140.86 million) for a 20 per cent stake in De Niro’s world renowned Japanese restaurant and hotel chain Nobu.

The deal comes after De Niro and fellow Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese rubbed shoulders with Mr Packer at the launch of Melco Crown’s $4 billion Studio City casino in Macau.

The Hollywood trio also starred in and directed a $US70 million short promotional film for the lavish new venue, produced by Mr Packer’s RatPac production joint venture.

Crown venues already host three of the world’s 32 Nobu restaurants, and one of its nine hotels.

The prestigious Nobu brand complements Crown Resorts’ position as a luxury entertainment company, chairman Rob Rankin said.

“James Packer established Crown’s relationship with Nobu some years ago,” he said.

“This acquisition cements that existing strong relationship.”

The remaining 80 per cent share of Nobu will be held by entities associated with its celebrity chef proprietor Nobu Matsuhisa, De Niro and film producer Meir Teper.

Mr Packer’s move into one of the world’s most famous restaurants, comes as he increases his presence in Hollywood and the world’s top gambling cities.

He recently stood down as chairman of Crown Resorts to spend more time in the United States and focus on the casino group’s global expansion.

He remains on the board and its majority owner, and is co-chairman of the Melco Crown Entertainment Asian joint venture.