James Packer has sold close to half his stake in Crown Resorts.

Mr Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) has sold 19.99 per cent of its shareholding in Crown Resorts to Macau-based Melco Resorts and Entertainment.

It was sold for a total purchase price of $1.76 billion, equivalent to $13 per share.

The sale will leave CPH owning about 26 per cent of Crown, worth around $2.3 billion, and keep its representation on the Crown board.

Mr Packer says Crown is a stronger company now with Melco as a strategic shareholder.

“Crown has been a massive part of my life for the last 20 years and that absolutely remains the case today — my continuing Crown shareholding represents my single largest investment,” Mr Packer said in a statement.

“I am still vitally interested in Crown's success as a world-class resort and gaming business.

“The sale allows me to continue my long-term involvement with Crown and at the same time to better diversify my investment portfolio.”

Crown has been dealing with plunging profits, business expansion woes and the arrest of more than a dozen of its employees in China for the illegal promotion of gambling.