Back in May 2012, PokerNews informed you that Gala Coral Group had agreed to sell its casinos to Rank Group Plc for £205 million. The sale would have made Rank Group the largest casino operator in the United Kingdom with 58 operating venues and 13 non-operating licences.
Three months later, August 2012, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) blocked the deal on the ground that the sale would leave the UK with just two casino operators – Rank and Genting – and this could have negative effects on customers due to reduced competition. This has led to Rank and Coral coming to another agreement that will see Rank purchase 19 of Coral’s 23 casinos.
Excluded from the revised deal, which will cost Rank £179 million, are Gala Coral casinos in Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Stockton-on-Tees and Gibraltar. Also excluded from the deal are licences for the City of Westminster and Dundee, and Gala Coral branded online casinos.
According to a statement released to the London Stock Exchange, the move is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
The chairman and chief executive of Rank, Ian Burke, commented on the transaction saying:
“This acquisition enables us to capitalise on our proven record of operational excellence in the British casino sector and is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first full year of ownership. By rolling out the ‘G Casino’ format into the Gala estate and expanding the Grosvenor Casino brand into 11 new cities, we will accelerate the growing awareness of the brand and support the development of a multi-channel gaming business.”
Shares in Rank Group (RNK), which owns the GUKPT, Mecca Bingo and BlueSq brands, closed at 165.80 yesterday, just shy of their 52-week high of 167.40.