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Rank Group Looking For Acquisitions After Withdrawing From William Hill Race

Rank Group Plc
  • Rank and 888 pull out of the William Hill takeover, but Rank reveals it is actively seeking takeover targets.

The proposed takeover of William Hill by 888 Holdings and Rank Group Plc is dead in the water after the interested parties pulled the plug on the deal, and announcing to the London Stock Exchange that they do not intend to make any offer for their British gambling rival.

Henry Birch, CEO of Rank, said: “We strongly believe that the transaction would have created significant value for all three sets of shareholders. We and 888 are grateful for the shareholder support we have received throughout this process.”

888 Holdings’ CEO, Itai Frieberger’s statement pointed the finger at the board of William Hill as the reason no deal discussions will take place: “We are disappointed that the board of William Hill did not share our vision of the combined businesses. We believe that there was compelling industrial logic for the combination of these highly complementary businesses, which in our view would have brought scale, diversification, and strong revenue and cost synergies, from which all shareholders would have benefitted.”

Rank Looking at Potential Mergers and Acquisitions

Earlier this week, Rank Group Plc, owners of the Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos brands, released its full year financial figures for the 12 months to June 30, 2016, which showed continued like-for-like growth across all of its brands and channels.

Group Revenue increased 2 percent to £753.0 million, with Profit before taxation and exceptional items rising 15 percent to £85.5 million. More good news for investors followed when the results revealed net debt has reduced by 22 percent to £41.2 million despite continued investment in the form of refurbishment of its casinos.

Birch revealed to Reuters that Rank is looking to improve its digital arm, and is actively looking for potential merger or acquisition targets.

“The company has been looking at M&A for the last 18 months and continues to do so and there is definitely a focus on the digital arena for that.

Rank Financial Highlights for the 12 Months to June 30, 2016

Key Performance Indicator2015/162014/15Change
Group Revenue£753.0m£738.3m2%
Group EBITDA before exceptional items£128.2m£126.3m2%
Group EBITDA before exceptional items and Remote Gaming Duty£139.8m£132.9m5%
Group operating profit before exceptional items£82.4m£84.0m(2%)
Group operating profit before exceptional items and Remote Gaming Duty£94.0m£90.6m4%
Adjusted profit before tax£77.4m£74.1m4%
Adjusted earnings per share15.4p14.6p4%
Net Debt£41.2m£52.9m22%
Dividend per share6.50p5.60p16%

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