The West

Crown non-executive director John Alexander has sold half his shares in James Packer's casino group for $2.56 million.

Crown told the Australian Securities Exchange on Christmas Eve that Alexander had offloaded 249,498 shares in the company on December 19.

The shares were sold on market and netted Mr Alexander $2.56 million, the notice said.

Mr Alexander's share sale coincided with Mr Packer upping his stake in Crown with the purchase of nearly 14 million shares for more than $143 million.

The move increased Mr Packer's stake in Crown to 50.1 per cent from 48.09 per cent as the billionaire used his private companies Consolidated Press Holdings and Cairnton Holdings to snap up shares on December 19 and 20.

In addition to sitting on the Crown board, Mr Alexander was executive chairman of pay-tv investment vehicle Consolidated Media Holdings until the company's recent takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

He is a former editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review newspaper.

Crown shares were 12 cents, or 1.14 per cent, higher at $10.68 at 9.30am.

The West Australian

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